Several years ago we put a deck onto the back of our house, I asked our contractor at the time whether or not we needed a permit, "Nah, you don't need a permit for this". Stupid homeowner. I knew I should have made one short call to the county to confirm, but I didn't. Now I have to rip up a portion of the deck to find a third access port to my septic that I didn't know existed.
We are planning an addition onto the side of our house, no where near the tank or pump out mind you, and there are several different departments that need to okay and issue our permits before we start. Such as our local water consortium, member run - easy to reach and friendly. The county building department, quite far away and run by a sadistic group of obsessive compulsive disorder hybrids, but once you know the rules, quite friendly, and then there is the HEALTH DEPARTMENT this unassuming,tyrannical bunch of bottom feeding..... but I digress.
The water department and the county have both approved our plans and passed us through the permitting process "PENDING HEALTH DEPARTMENT APPROVAL" four unassuming words that have come to mean, "when you pay a ridiculous amount of money, answer - in writing - ridiculous questions and perform pointless costly, difficult tasks." in other words it's looking like never.
I should say that our house is served by a septic system (thus the Health Dept's involvement) but will be hooking up to sewer by 2010, two short years away. Our septic has never given us any trouble but several people in our neighborhood have had their systems fail at quite a high cost. So when the City decided to run sewer past our development for a large construction project nearby, we petitioned the city and opted in. The health department is requiring me to bring my 14 year old septic system up to today's code. Which means finding all four corners of the tank, put in lateral upturns (yeah, I don't know what that means either) monitoring ports and provide proof of a yearly monitoring program with a septic company. WHAT! oh yea, and risers on all access panels, blah blah, plus four pages of other "minor" requirements, but this is the big ticket one. Here are what the risers look like, we had them installed on the two ports we knew about, didn't even know there was a third one, and neither did the septic company we have been using for years.
I understand the need to make sure that our rivers and streams remain healthy by making sure homeowners maintain their septic systems properly, but installing viewing ports on all four corners of my tank. Excessive. I am sure that when we hook up to sewer we will have to slurry the tank at great expense and the health department will again be involved. The thing that is such a bother is that I have to totally kiss their ass while they are complete assholes to me. I have never been good at that.
I have met the devil, her name is Ann, and she works for the county health department.