Town of Phelps, NY
Ontario County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Phelps 12-4-1995 by L.L. No. 5-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Sewers — See Ch. 114.
Water — See Ch. 138.
The purpose of this chapter is to preserve and protect the quality of surface and groundwater in the Town of Phelps. These standards are established to ensure adequate performance of wastewater treatment systems, to protect public health and to optimize the effectiveness of the systems at removing nutrients from wastewater.
A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be in effect throughout the Town of Phelps and apply to all wastewater treatment systems not subject to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or Department of Health permitted facilities, which facilities are subject to continuous licensing or regulations by those agencies.
B. 
The Town of Phelps hereby declares that this chapter supersedes and replaces any and all rules or regulations previously enacted in regard to wastewater management.
If any section, paragraph, subdivision or provision of this chapter shall be judged invalid or held unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity of this chapter as a whole or any part or provision thereof other than the part so decided to be invalid or unconstitutional.
A. 
Wastewater from any new construction shall be discharged directly into public wastewater disposal systems if available and accessible within 100 feet of the property line.
B. 
If there is no public wastewater disposal available, residential, commercial or institutional wastewater must be treated by a wastewater treatment system approved by the regulatory officer of the Town of Phelps.
A. 
No wastewater from a wastewater system shall be deposited or allowed to escape into any watercourse in the Town or allowed to surface or be washed over the ground.
B. 
No human excreta, either raw or partially decomposed, may be dipped, pumped or shoveled from a septic, aerobic or holding tank and placed in or on the ground within the Town of Phelps without specific approval of the site by the Department of Environmental Conservation of the State of New York. This is not to preclude proper disposal within a subservice leach field.
C. 
Any septic tank or holding tank that shows evidence of leaking must be replaced or repaired within the time period specified in § 136-12.
A. 
Wastewater systems for new household construction shall be designed in accordance with New York State Department of Health Administrative Codes, Rules and Regulations (Appendix 75-A). The definitions contained in Appendix 75-A shall also apply to these regulations.
B. 
Wastewater systems for new commercial or institutional construction shall be designed according to the latest edition of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) guidelines ("Standards for Waste Treatment Works -- Institutional and Commercial Sewage Facilities" or current reference).
A. 
Construction of replacement wastewater systems may be designed and must be installed under the direction of the regulatory officer or a design professional. Replacement systems shall be designed and installed according to the provisions of Appendix 75-A, if possible. The design must be preapproved by the regulatory officer.
B. 
On limiting site conditions, the regulatory officer shall utilize up-to-date practical technology or require the system be designed and installed under the direction of a qualified, licensed engineer or registered architect. A holding tank may be constructed under the supervision of the regulatory officer as described in § 136-11.
C. 
Households served by replacement systems may be required to have DEC-certified water conservation fixtures installed prior to the issuance of a "permit to operate."
D. 
If the site is only occasionally inhabited, such as a hunting camp, and has no water under pressure or wastewater discharge, the regulatory officer may allow a sanitary privy or other nonwaterborne system as described in Appendix 75-A. Such structure may not be used for residential use.
E. 
Wastewater systems for replacement commercial or institutional construction shall be designed according to the latest edition of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines in "Standards for Wastewater Treatment Works -- Institutional and Commercial Sewage Facilities" or current reference, if possible. Further, said systems may require, at the discretion of the regulatory officer, the stamp of a duly New York State licensed engineer.
A. 
The regulatory officer shall be allowed to make regular and thorough inspections during normal working hours of all wastewater treatment systems in the Town for purposes of inspection, observation and testing of wastewater treatment systems. Whenever it appears to the regulatory officer that a wastewater system is in failure or otherwise creating a health hazard (see § 136-5), a written notice of violation shall be given to the property owner specifying the nature of the violation and required corrective action. The owner of the wastewater system has up to 30 days from receipt of the notice of violation to obtain a wastewater system construction permit or to show cause to the Town Board as to why they believe the notice to be in error. Completion of work detailed in the wastewater system construction permit shall be performed within the time period specified in the permit according to § 136-7.
B. 
The regulatory officer shall investigate all complaints under the provisions of this chapter and document all follow-up investigations.
C. 
It shall be the duty and obligation of the wastewater system owner to supply, upon request to the regulatory officer, available information regarding wastewater system type, capacity, location, usage, age, maintenance, etc., in order to determine the system's effectiveness.
A. 
Prior to any property transfer, all septic or holding tanks must be pumped by a DEC-licensed waste hauler at least 10 days prior to the time of property transfer unless it has already been pumped and inspected by the regulatory officer within the past year. If groundwater is high, it may be done within three months after transfer. The property owner must give the regulatory officer at least 48 hours notice to arrange for inspection of the septic tank. (It is highly recommended that property transfer inspections and pumping be arranged by the property owner as early in the selling process as possible to obtain an accurate assessment of the system.)
B. 
The filtration and/or absorption area must be evaluated by the regulatory officer at least 10 days prior to the time of property transfer.
C. 
If a lending institution requires a property owner to obtain a wastewater system inspection for property refinancing, the regulatory officer shall perform the inspection as per applicable provisions in this section.
D. 
If the wastewater system is determined to be failing or inadequate, a written notice of violation will be issued as per § 136-15, and a construction permit to correct the violation must be obtained prior to new owner occupancy.
E. 
For aerobic systems, the new owner must send a signed copy of a service contract to the regulatory officer within 30 days after property transfers or they will be served with a notice of violation.
F. 
Only the regulatory officer is authorized to conduct a property transfer or mortgage refinance inspection as defined in this chapter.
A. 
All septic tanks require regular inspection to:
(1) 
Ensure baffles are adequate.
(2) 
Check for holes or cracks.
(3) 
Determine if tank needs pumping.
(4) 
Determine adequacy (i.e., volume for facility served).
B. 
Maintenance of the septic tank will help to protect the filtration/absorption area from clogging. Septic tanks with total depth of sludge and scum exceeding 1/3 of the liquid depth as demonstrated by the regulatory officer, property owner or his agent will be required to be pumped at the property owner's expense. Physical measurement is not required if the tank is pumped and visually inspected by a DEC-certified contractor and is approved by the regulatory officer. If the tank is undersized, subsequent inspections may be required. Additional tank volume may be required by the regulatory officer to meet system use and capacity standards.
C. 
After septic tank pumping, the DEC-certified contractor is required to send a septic tank pumping inspection form to the regulatory officer verifying the septic tank was pumped and describing its condition and any other maintenance work completed.
A. 
No construction of new, replacement or repair of wastewater systems shall be commenced until an application for a "wastewater system construction permit" is reviewed and a permit is issued by the regulatory officer.
B. 
No person shall build, erect, construct, expand, enlarge, add bedrooms or convert to another use any structure or system that is subject to the provisions of this chapter and involves wastewater discharge without first obtaining a wastewater system construction permit. Building expansions which do not alter property wastewater discharge, such as the building of a deck or garage, are exempt.
C. 
Construction of a system shall be in accordance with the specifications approved in the wastewater system construction permit.
D. 
No element of the system shall be covered until inspected and approved in accordance with the wastewater system construction permit. Covered work shall be uncovered to permit inspection whenever considered necessary by the regulatory officer.
E. 
The regulatory officer shall be notified a minimum of 48 hours prior to the requested inspection date.
F. 
A wastewater system construction permit shall be valid for up to one year.
A. 
Where a written notice of violation has been issued for an inadequate wastewater system or component thereof, corrective action according to a wastewater system construction permit must be completed within six months.
B. 
Where a wastewater system violation is considered by the regulatory officer to be a public health hazard, such as raw sewage on the ground or entering a watercourse, a maximum of 60 days will be allowed for corrective action. Corrective action may be required sooner depending on the risk to health and safety.
No wastewater system shall be placed in operation or any new building, structure or mobile home be occupied until a "permit to operate" or "certificate of occupancy" has been issued indicating that such system has been constructed in compliance with the wastewater system construction permit.
A. 
When an aerobic system is proposed, only NSF-approved Class 1 aerobic treatment systems are acceptable (for new or replacement systems) and must be approved by the regulatory officer. For both new and replacement systems, aerobic tanks are considered a septic tank substitute only and must be used in conjunction with a properly located and designed filtration and/or absorption area approved by the regulatory officer. A DEC SPDES permit is required for surface discharge.
B. 
When an aeration system is used, a visual and audio warning device shall be installed in a conspicuous location so that activation of such warning device will alert property occupants of aerobic unit malfunction or failure. All warning devices shall be wired separately from the aerobic unit so that disconnecting the aerobic unit from electricity will activate the warning device.
C. 
All aerobic systems shall be provided with a "fail-safe" filtering system that precludes discharge of untreated waste due to electrical or mechanical failure.
D. 
All aerobic system owners must have a continuous maintenance contract agreement with an authorized service contractor which includes at least two inspections a year by the authorized service contractor and a report of the inspection provided to the regulatory officer. A copy of service contracts must be sent to the regulatory officer annually to verify that a continuous contract exists for the aerobic system. The service contractor shall have the aerobic unit effluent tested by a certified laboratory to determine that the unit conforms with NSF effluent limit as required by the regulatory officer.
[Amended 8-10-2015 by L.L. No. 3-2015]
A written notice of violation shall be issued to any property owner with a wastewater treatment system found in violation of this chapter, stating the date(s) by which corrective action shall be completed. Any violation beyond that date shall be punishable by a fine of $250 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days per day of violation. Each day of violation shall be considered a separate offense. In the event of continued violations, the regulatory officer may apply for an injunction or other relief, including property condemnation, from the appropriate court or Town Board. In the event that the Town institutes proceedings either in local court, county court or in Supreme Court to enforce the provisions of this chapter, the offending party(ies) shall be liable for all attorneys' fees, costs and disbursements incurred by the Town in bringing said enforcement proceedings. More-severe penalties than listed above may be imposed by a local court, county court or Supreme Court for blatant and willful violations, such as pumping septic or holding tank waste directly into surface water.
Fees will be set by the Town of Phelps and adjusted as needed to be charged for each wastewater system construction permit and wastewater system inspection by the regulatory officer.
A. 
All definitions printed in Appendix 75-A shall apply to this chapter.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AGENT
A person requested, employed or contracted by an owner or owners, occupant or lessee.
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Any building constructed or placed on an undeveloped site and requiring a new wastewater system.
NSF
The National Sanitation Foundation.
REGULATORY OFFICER
The Town of Phelps Code Enforcement Officer or Deputy Code Enforcement Officer.
REPLACEMENT WASTEWATER SYSTEM
The construction or modification of a system servicing an existing building.
WATERCOURSES
Identified in consultation with the Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Department of Environmental Conservation.