House advances septic-upgrade bill

April 10, 2009|By Julie Bykowicz

The House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Thursday to a plan to reduce Chesapeake Bay water pollution by requiring nitrogen-removing technology in all new and replacement septic systems along the waterfront. The House rejected the impassioned pleas of more than a dozen lawmakers, mostly Republicans representing waterfront counties, who believe the requirements will prove too costly for some low-income homeowners in the 1,000-foot shoreline zone known as the "Critical Area." The state would pay the price difference for replacing existing systems with less polluting ones, but new homebuyers along the shore would be responsible for the full cost of enhanced systems, which run about $5,600 apiece. The Senate narrowly approved a similar proposal late last month, and the two chambers must work out their differences by Monday.

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