Property owners in Richmond and Rubio who need to comply with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources private septic systems regulations will soon receive a letter from the Washington County Board of Supervisors.
The board of supervisors approved the letter that will go out this week during their weekly meeting Tuesday morning.
“This is the last letter they will get,” Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said. “Compliance actions will begin Sept. 1.”
The letter offers information about what it will take to become compliant along with a list of on-site system installers and engineers or consultants, a list of engineering firms and some options for financing a private septic system.
Property owners who do not comply by Sept. 1 will receive a notice of violation letter from the county. Those who do not comply by Sept. 16 will receive a citation to appear in court at a future date.
These steps are necessary, the letter states, because Washington County has to satisfy an administrative consent order from the DNR by June 1, 2014.
Seward and supervisor Ron Bennett are continuing to meet with DNR officials about which properties must comply and to amend the administrative consent order. Seward said that DNR officials and he would go to Richmond today.
“We are going to take a physical side trip up to the Richmond community,” he said, “and see if we can come to an agreement about what exactly the boundaries are. In other words, we’ll try to leave the folks who are way out and away from the old town — remove them from this targeted enforcement.”
Seward said he would report to the board next week what he finds out.
“We continue to meet with members of the community, attend meetings wherever possible, and remain available to answer questions whenever possible,” the letter states.
The supervisors are meeting with Jennine Wolf, who recently became director of Environmental Health. She works with contractors and contractors will contact Wolf to present a satisfactory plan to install a compliant system and obtain the proper permit. The septic systems do not need to be done by Sept. 1, but property owners will need to have a plan and a permit by Sept. 1.
The board approved the letter.
In a related matter, county attorney Larry Brock and Seward discussed the Richmond and Rubio projects in reference to the Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) about a letter the county received from RUSS and what the county’s response would be.
Brock prepared a draft of the county’s response to RUSS. The county received a letter from RUSS dated July 23 which, among other things, requested the payment of approximately $386,000 for expenses incurred by RUSS for the Richmond and Rubio community sanitary sewer systems. The letter stated the payment was due 60 days from the date of the letter.
Brock said that Seward reported to the board of supervisors that the board would have until January 2014 to reimburse RUSS, which was discussed by the RUSS board in April. Brock wants RUSS to clarify the payment due date.
As Seward said at the July 30 board of supervisors meeting, the county has received spreadsheets for the Richmond and Rubio expense. At that time, he said he wanted to verify the invoices of the items on the spreadsheets. He found out that he cannot get information about the invoices without RUSS’s permission.
Brock said he thinks RUSS will release that information.
The supervisors unanimously approved the letter from the county to RUSS.
The next board of supervisors meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, in the county courthouse.