A septic system pump-out program is a requirement of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Managment Regulations for all of the Tidewater localities.
General Performance Criteria:
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations contain eleven General Performance Criteria (9 VAC 10-20-120) that are designed to protect the quality of state waters. They aim to accomplish this goal by preventing a net increase in nonpoint source pollution. Local governments, through their land use ordinances, must require that any use, development or redevelopment within Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas meet the General Performance Criteria. Local government compliance with the General Performance Criteria is mandatory.
Septic System Pump-Out:
The seventh General Performance Criterion (9 VAC 10-20-120 7 a) states that local governments (through their applicable land use ordinances) require that any use, development, or redevelopment of land in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas using an on-site sewage treatment system shall be pumped-out at least once every five years. Alternatives to the pump-out include the installation of a plastic filter and the inspection of the on-site system to ensure proper function.
The purpose of the requirement is to ensure that systems are functioning properly. The biological processes that normally cleanse the sewage stop working properly when a septic system is full of solids. As a result, contamination of groundwater, waterways and the Chesapeake Bay is possible. Regular maintenance ensures that our water resources are protected from this potential contamination source.
This requirement applies to all 84 localities subject to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. Currently, the majority of localities subject to the Bay Act have implemented septic pump-out programs successfully.