On November 25, 2009 the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District’s (DLWID) Manager sponsored a meeting with Lincoln City officials and representatives from various agencies to discuss a program to regulate septic tanks tributary to Devils Lake. This action taken by the DLWID Manager toward implementation of the “Septic Revitalization Program” occurred prior to the DLWID board being provided with details of the program, an opportunity to review the program or the ability to authorize the creation of such a program.
Under this program, the operating costs of your lakefront home will be impacted and it is possible you will lose the right to use your lakefront property! Property owners, who do not comply with the terms of the Septic Revitalization Program, will have their water shut off by the city and be assessed daily fines, until the property is brought into compliance. Without water, your property would be rendered uninhabitable. It may cost $1,200 for the required pumping and the initial inspection of your septic system. The potential costs could be much greater, should a problem be identified; your septic system could require repairs or replacement. This may also impact functioning systems that are declared not up to current construction standards. Repairs costs could be measured in the $1,000, and replacement costs could range from $10,000-$15,000, with some properties requiring expensive Advanced Treatment systems running as much as $20,000 plus required 24/7 monitoring costs as much as $1,000 annually. See related article (DLWID Septic Revitalization Program).
Your immediate action is required to protect your property rights. This is no longer just an idea being kicked around at planning sessions. Because of this one meeting, Lincoln City Manager David Hawker sent a memo to the Mayor and City Council outlining a program inspired by Ordinance 230 in Dunes City; a coastal community South of Florence where residents draw their drinking water directly from local lakes. The program would require all homes with septic systems within 200 feet of the lake to have their systems inspected every five years. The City Manager stated in the memo that he “believe(s) we should begin that legislative process which would include public and agency comment on a specific proposal, development of a draft ordinance, (and) a public hearing with notice to the affected owners.” Mr. Hawkins continues, “It is my intent to put this on a public agenda for discussion at a January City Council meeting.” See related articles (The Dunes City Story and Lincoln City’s Recent Actions)
As a Devils Lake property owner, what can I do? Voice your concerns to the DLWID board and to the Lincoln City Mayor and City Council. The next DLWID Board meeting is Thursday January 7, 2010 at 6pm followed by a Goal Planning session on Saturday, January 9, 2010 from 11am to 1pm, both are open to the public. Review the material that we have developed on this topic, become informed. Sign up for the nosolarbees email service, call all of your lakefront neighbors and inform them of the issue and encourage them to sign up to receive regular updates on this topic by visiting www.nosolarbees.com and selecting the “Join Email List”. We have created a Septic Tank page on our website where you will find resources on this the topic as well as templates you can use to contact your elected officials.
It is with regret that we must once again be on the opposite side of a major issue from the Devils Lake Water Improvement District. While the District has several initiatives that we can support; this version of the Septic Revitalization Program is not one of them. The goals of this program are noble but the execution is a disaster! Please help us send that message. Ask the district to work together with its constituents to ensure that Devils Lake continues to be one of Lincoln City’s most valuable assets.