Town of Bethel, NY
Sullivan County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 4-12-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007 (Ch. 107 of the 1990 Code)]
This article shall be known as the "Town of Bethel On-Site Individual Wastewater Treatment System Law."
This article shall govern the treatment of sewage by regulating all on-site individual wastewater treatment systems (hereinafter referred to as a "wastewater treatment system").
The purpose of this article is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the community, including the protection and preservation of the property of its inhabitants, by regulating wastewater treatment systems so that human sewage and other wastes are disposed of in a manner that will not create a health hazard, adversely affect the environment, create a nuisance or impair the enjoyment or use of property.
This article is enacted under the authority granted to the Town of Bethel by Article 2, § 10, of the New York State Municipal Home Rule Law.
In addition to the definitions contained in the New York State Public Health Law and New York State Building Code, which are incorporated herein by reference, the following words and terms shall be defined as follows:
DESIGN PROFESSIONAL
A person licensed or registered in the State of New York and authorized by New York State Education Law to design the systems described in 10 NYCRR Appendix 75A.
MINOR ALTERATIONS
Routine maintenance and repairs to the wastewater treatment system, including but not limited to the following: replacement of septic tank covers or baffles, replacement of distribution box covers, replacement of cracked pipes, pumping of the septic tank and replacement of mechanical pumps and devices.
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Any building constructed or placed on an undeveloped site requiring the installation of a wastewater treatment system and currently not utilizing the same.
ON-SITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEM
A complete system of piping, watertight vessels or other facilities for the on-site collection, transport and treatment of sewage.
SEWAGE
The combination of human and household waste with water which is discharged to the plumbing system, including the waste from a flush toilet, bath, shower, sink, lavatory, dishwashing or laundry machine, or the water-carried waste from any fixture, equipment or machine.
SUBSTANTIAL MODIFICATION
An expansion of 50% or more in the floor area of a building, dwelling or use.
It shall be unlawful within the Town of Bethel to:
A. 
Construct any wastewater treatment system to serve a new building, dwelling or use without submitting wastewater treatment system plans prepared by a qualified design professional for approval by the Town of Bethel Building Department.
B. 
Construct or expand any wastewater treatment system to serve the substantial modification of an existing building, dwelling or use without submitting wastewater treatment system plans prepared by a qualified design professional for approval by the Town of Bethel Building Department.
C. 
Create any new lot of less than 10 acres in lot area that has not been tested as required herein to document a suitable area for an on-site individual wastewater treatment system and an additional area of equal or greater size for a replacement system in the event of a malfunction.
D. 
Use or maintain any wastewater treatment system that is not adequately functioning. It shall be unlawful to discharge anything but sewage into a wastewater treatment system. Surface and subsurface water including roof, cellar, foundation and storm drainage shall not be discharged into the wastewater treatment system and shall be disposed of so as to in no way affect the proper functioning of the system.
A. 
Any wastewater treatment system for new individual household construction shall be designed and built according to the requirements of this article and the requirements, as they may from time to time be amended, of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) standards for sewage disposal for individual household systems. Those design requirements are found in Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (10 NYCRR).
B. 
Any wastewater treatment system for new commercial or institutional construction, as well as conservation subdivision or multifamily dwelling developments, shall be designed and built according to the requirements of this article and the requirements, as may be from time to time be amended, of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) standards for sewage disposal for intermediate-sized sewerage facilities. Those design requirements are found in NYSDEC manual "Design Standards for Wastewater Treatment Works: Intermediate-sized Sewerage Facilities."
A. 
Any replacement, enlargement or extension of an existing on-site individual household wastewater treatment system to serve the substantial modification of a building, dwelling or use shall be designed and built according to the requirements of this article and the requirements, as they may from time to time be amended, of the NYSDOH standards for sewage disposal for individual household systems. Those design requirements are found in Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (10 NYCRR).
B. 
Any replacement, enlargement or extension of an existing intermediate-sized sewerage system shall be designed and built according to the requirements of this article and the requirements, as may be from time to time be amended, of the NYSDEC standards for sewage disposal for intermediate-sized sewerage facilities. Those design requirements are found in NYSDEC manual "Design Standards for Wastewater Treatment Works: Intermediate-sized Sewerage Facilities."
A. 
Minor alterations to wastewater treatment systems shall not require approval hereunder, provided that such repairs are made with like or similar materials so as to replace existing conditions in need of repair, and are done in a safe and sanitary manner. Other alterations of wastewater treatment systems to serve substantial modifications of existing buildings, dwellings or uses shall be subject to review to ensure the standards here are met.
B. 
The design standards found herein shall not apply to existing wastewater treatment systems legally installed, repaired or approved by the Town of Bethel Building Department prior to the date of adoption of this article or those systems determined by the Town of Bethel Building Department to be adequately functioning.
Where sites are characterized by topographic, physiographic or other limitations, the Town of Bethel Building Department shall utilize current technology and design methods to remedy failed or improperly functioning systems, provided that applicable state standards, to the greatest extent possible, are met. The Town of Bethel Building Department shall take the following into consideration in such cases:
A. 
Distance separations to drinking water supplies and watercourses;
B. 
The imminent health hazards resulting from a currently failed system;
C. 
Existing lot line setbacks and area requirements as related to individual properties; and
D. 
The extent to which the limitations are self-created.
Wastewater treatment systems shall be maintained in good working order. There shall be no activities or conditions permitted which would interfere with the proper operation of wastewater treatment systems. It is specifically prohibited to construct or place buildings, to install paving, to plant trees or shrubs, to regrade or place fill, to allow crossing by vehicles, to install aboveground pools, or to install driveways or parking areas over sanitary disposal fields.
In addition to approvals required herein, a review and approval by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), if appropriate, shall be required for the following conditions:
A. 
Any realty subdivision as defined by Article 11, Title II, of the New York State Public Health Law or Article 17, Title 15, of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law;
B. 
Any alternative system as defined by Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (10 NYCRR);
C. 
Any facility required to be permitted by the NYSDOH; and
D. 
Any on-site individual wastewater treatment system or other system with effluent in excess of 1,000 gallons per day.
A. 
The Town of Bethel Building Department shall have the right to require that the property owner retain the services of a design professional to conduct site and soil appraisals (percolation tests and deep test pits) and to design and certify that the wastewater treatment system meets the requirements of this article and the standards of applicable state laws.
B. 
Wastewater treatment systems defined as alternative systems pursuant to 10 NYCRR Appendix 75-A shall be certified by a qualified design professional.
A. 
The Town of Bethel Building Department shall be permitted by the property owner to make a physical inspection of the lands and premises for which a wastewater treatment system is proposed to determine all of the requirements of this article have been met.
B. 
The Town of Bethel Building Department, upon complaint or show of cause, shall be permitted by the property owner to make a physical inspection of the lands and premises for which a wastewater treatment system is believed to be a cause or potential cause of pollution, or health hazard.
Plans for wastewater treatment systems shall include the following information, on which the Town of Bethel Building Department may conduct such investigations, examinations, tests and site evaluations as it deems necessary to verify information supplied:
A. 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant;
B. 
Specific location of the property on which the wastewater treatment system is located or proposed, including the tax map number for said property;
C. 
A sketch plan or survey map of the premises on which the wastewater treatment system is located or proposed, showing the location of wells, springs and other sources of water supply, and the location of all watercourses on the premises; and
D. 
Documentation of substantiating data relating to site conditions, percolation tests, deep test pit data and topography of land.
A. 
The Town of Bethel Building Department shall not approve plans for any wastewater treatment system permit unless all pertinent site data has been submitted, verified and certified as required by this article; all permit fees have been paid and the wastewater treatment system complies with all specifications of state and local laws.
B. 
No certificate of occupancy shall be issued for any building, dwelling or use unless the wastewater treatment system has been approved in accordance with the provisions of this article.
A. 
Installation of the wastewater treatment system shall be under the direct supervision of the Town of Bethel Building Department.
B. 
The applicant shall be prohibited from covering any component of the system without proper authorization.
The fees for any permit or inspection performed pursuant to this article shall be determined from time to time by the Town of Bethel Town Board.
The Town of Bethel Building Department may require inspection of any on-site individual wastewater treatment systems connected with the substantial modification of any building, dwelling or use. The owner of the property shall arrange for a wastewater treatment system inspection as an integral part of the building permit application process. A qualified design professional shall determine whether expansion of the building or dwelling, including its use, represents an increased hydraulic loading to the system.
A. 
All existing on-site wastewater treatment systems requiring an inspection pursuant to this article shall be performed by a qualified design professional. Such design professional may require:
(1) 
The septic tank, inspection ports, distribution boxes or other distribution devices be uncovered and accessible to the inspector. Should any component of the system not be located the inspector shall so note on the inspection report.
(2) 
Sanitary disposal fields be staked out or otherwise identified by general area of location.
(3) 
The septic tank be pumped at the expense of the property owner, to ensure the tank is not leaking, and the inlet and outlet baffles are in place and properly functioning.
(4) 
Drop and distribution boxes be checked for blockages and function.
(5) 
Visual inspection of buildings for the number of bedrooms, the layout and location of all water-using fixtures and plumbing, including but not limited to faucets, sinks, toilets, drains, overflows, laundry equipment, floor drains, sump pumps, water softeners, and related systems that may impose an improper or potential adverse hydraulic loading on the disposal field.
(6) 
Verification of the connection of all drains to an appropriate disposal system.
(7) 
Observation of all outside areas, to include nearby lawns, slopes, hillsides, ditches and watercourses, swales, and the shoreline of ponds, lakes and wetlands for aboveground seepage and to note the quantity and general quality of surface water where it occurs.
(8) 
Conduct of dye testing and other methods as may be necessary to determine system function.
B. 
Upon completion of such inspection, the design professional shall document all procedures and furnish the owner with a report of findings, including dates of testing/inspection, observations and sketches showing system layout to adequately document the inspection and improvements required.
[Amended 5-22-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008; 7-24-2008 by L.L. No. 4-2008]
All testing for purposes of designing new and expanded on-site individual wastewater treatment systems and qualifying new subdivision lots for placement of such systems shall meet New York State standards, as supplemented and superseded by the following additional requirements:
A. 
Two percolation tests and a deep test pit shall be provided within each proposed absorption field area. Additionally, two percolation tests and a deep test pit shall be conducted for each replacement area. Locations of all tests shall be depicted on the plans for the on-site individual wastewater treatment system and on each lot in connection with subdivision plan. Each absorption area for a dwelling shall be sized on the basis of the number of bedrooms anticipated. Where the number of bedrooms is unknown, each dwelling unit shall be assumed to include four bedrooms. All tests required by this chapter relating to a major subdivision must be witnessed by the Town Engineer and, if not so witnessed, then such tests shall not be relied upon by the Planning Board in the subdivision review process.
B. 
Soils with percolation test results faster than five minutes per inch shall not be used for absorption fields and seepage pits. The design professional shall, in such case, evaluate whether the soils can be modified to meet state requirements.
C. 
Where percolation rates exceed 60 minutes per inch, a subsurface disposal system shall not be allowed, except as may be granted by formal waiver. An applicant subject to this subsection may apply to the Town Board pursuant to § 257-62G(3) for a waiver to use an absorption trench system or alternative system designed in accordance with Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, as amended.
[Amended 11-10-2010 by L.L. No. 6-2010]
D. 
An additional 100% of the required absorption field area shall be available for future expansion and replacement. Such area shall be depicted on the plans for the on-site individual wastewater treatment system and on each lot in connection with any subdivision plan.
E. 
Depth to the seasonal high groundwater shall be determined at the location of each deep test pit from direct measurement, documenting evidence of soil mottling and other characteristics. The source of the data must be cited in the design professional's report. Testing performed more than six weeks following the frost leaving the ground shall be subject to review and certification by a New York State licensed professional engineer or a soil scientist.
F. 
The design professional's report shall contain an estimate of the average gradient of the groundwater table toward or away from the nearest point of water use or the nearest surface water body such as a stream, pond, lake or wetland in the vicinity of each deep test pit location. An estimate shall also be made of the distance from the deep test pit location to the nearest point of water use or nearest surface water body. The design professional's report shall address the potential for groundwater quality degradation due to subsurface sewage disposal in the vicinity of the test pit locations. Where this preliminary analysis indicates subsurface sewage disposal at the site has a moderate to high potential to cause groundwater quality degradation, the Town of Bethel Building Department may require additional data to determine if the site is suitable for subsurface sewage disposal. As a minimum, the additional data, if required, shall consist of test borings, with detailed boring logs, sufficient in number and location, as approved by the Town Engineer, to determine the gradient, thickness and hydraulic conductivity of the shallowest saturated zone (aquifer) underlying the site. Based on the above information, the applicant's design professional shall submit dilution calculations of expected nitrate pollution at the property boundary. On the basis of this additional data, the Town Engineer may determine the site is suitable, is suitable with specific conditions, or that the site does not appear to be suitable for subsurface sewage disposal. In the latter case, additional detailed modeling of groundwater flows and pollutant dispersion may be submitted by the applicant in order to demonstrate the site is appropriate for subsurface sewage disposal and such activity will not cause an unacceptable degradation in groundwater quality.
G. 
The number of shallow absorption trench systems and other alternative systems designed in accordance with Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Codes,Rules and Regulations, as amended, in the aggregate, shall be limited as follows:
[Amended 11-10-2010 by L.L. No. 6-2010]
(1) 
Any minor subdivision shall have no more than two such systems; and
(2) 
No more than 50% of the total lots of a major subdivision shall be constructed with such systems.
(3) 
Waivers.
(a) 
Upon written application, the Town Board may grant a waiver from the requirements of § 257-62C and/or this § 257-62G, provided that the following conditions are satisfied:
[1] 
The applicant sets forth the size of the lot(s) in which the absorption trench system or alternative system will be installed, the number and type of absorption trench systems or alternative systems proposed, the proposed use of the parcel(s) in question, and any other information reasonably required by the Town Board;
[2] 
The applicant provides an engineering report that:
[a] 
The proposed systems meet the design requirements for an absorption trench system or other alternative systems set forth at Appendix 75-A of Part 75 of Title 10 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations; and
[b] 
Identifies all other laws applicable to absorption trench systems or other alternative systems and certifies that the proposed systems meet or exceed the requirements thereof; and
[3] 
The applicant shall identify all neighboring parcels that may be impacted by the use of an alternative system as well as any applicable mitigation measures.
(b) 
The grant of any waiver under this § 257-62G shall be in the sole discretion of the Town Board, which shall consider the type of proposed system, the lot size of the parcels upon which the absorption trench systems or alternative systems will be placed, the potential impact on neighboring parcels, the engineering analyses of the applicant and the Town Engineer, any comments of the Town Planning Board and any other health and safety issues deemed relevant to the waiver application. In all cases, the lot dimensions must allow all parts of the sewer disposal system to be located a minimum of 25 feet from any lot line unless this condition is expressly waived by the Town Board.
Should any wastewater treatment system be located, installed, constructed, altered, enlarged or extended in violation of this article, or should this article be otherwise violated, the Town of Bethel Town Board may maintain an action or proceeding in the name of the municipality in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with the terms of this article or to restrain by injunction the violation of this article.
[Amended 11-6-2008 by L.L. No. 8-2008]
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be subject to a fine not to exceed the sum of $250 or by imprisonment of not more than 15 days, or both. Each week such violation continues after notification to the person in violation shall constitute a separate violation. Such violation notice shall be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service.