Trumbull enacts new rules for its septic systems

The newest regulations should result in less-costly
septic systems.



WARREN — The Trumbull County Health Department has adopted new septic regulations to comply with this month’s state budget bill, which repealed regulations that went into effect Jan. 1.

Frank Migliozzi, the health department’s director of environmental health, said the budget bill required county health departments to return to the regulations enacted by the state in 1977.

It required health departments to add some guidelines to those regulations, however, stating that systems will not be allowed that cause septic waste to pond on the ground, flow into the ground water or discharge into a flooded area.

Migliozzi said the new regulations are likely to achieve the goal of the budget bill, which was to bring down the cost of installing and replacing septic systems.

The budget bill required local health departments to add language saying that the “economic impact” of various types of installations will be considered from this point on, such as the cost of a proposed system, cost of an alternative system and the value of a dwelling under consideration.

Legislators rescinded the Jan. 1 rules after public outcry that the new septic systems resulting from the rules were too expensive.

Changes to the regulations

One of the biggest changes, Migliozzi said, is the newest regulation to reduce the separation distance between the septic water being released into leach fields in the ground and the groundwater level below.

The distance is being reduced from 2 feet to 1 foot. Under the 2-foot separation, the more expensive mound-type system was needed or else additional pretreatment systems had to be installed.

The systems installed under the newest regulations will also be less complicated, with less need for a professional engineer, so the cost of designing the systems will be less, Migliozzi said.

Dr. James Enyeart, county health commissioner, said he believes the reason the state rescinded the earlier regulations is because they attempted to set one standard for the whole state. Such a one-size-fits-all approach just wasn’t workable, he said.


Septic installer Berry Meadows of Digging Dirt, of Warren, said he has been campaigning for many months for changes to septic regulations in Trumbull County and will meet with health officials Friday to begin to try to change a consent decree the county signed with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency last year.

The decree put in place regulations affecting so-called “off-lot” septic systems, which discharge septic water off a property usually into roadside ditches.

The off-lot rules have resulted in the construction of sand filters for many septic systems. Sand filters are sometimes unsightly square concrete boxes filled with sand that assist with the chlorination and dechlorination of septic waste.

Meadows said he believes the septic advisory committee promoted by state Sen. Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, will be successful in getting modifications to the consent decree.

The new regulations are available for viewing on the health department’s Web site at under the home sewage link.

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