Lakeside Property

New regulation would require septic inspections on lakefront houses earlier than sale

AUGUSTA — Starting subsequent yr, septic inspections will probably be required previous to the sale of lakefront houses and camps all through Maine below a invoice signed into regulation this week.

Since 2007, homebuyers have been required to acquire septic system inspections prior to buying properties positioned throughout the “coastal shoreland zone,” which extends 250 ft from the conventional high-water line. A invoice handed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Janet Mills on Monday would increase that septic inspection requirement to house gross sales inside any shoreland zone – together with lakes, nice ponds and rivers.

Supporters stated the inspections may have the twofold advantage of detecting malfunctioning septic techniques that leach pollution into adjoining waterbodies whereas guaranteeing homebuyers are conscious of probably pricey repairs earlier than a sale is finalized. A homebuyer would have one yr to restore or exchange a malfunctioning septic system.

Supporters of the growth included the Maine Municipal Affiliation, organizations representing water and sewer districts, Maine Audubon, the Pure Sources Council of Maine, Maine Lakes Society, and quite a few native or regional lake associations.

“This new regulation will strengthen the protection internet for Maine lakes, which face continued pressures from many various sources of air pollution runoff, together with failing underground septic techniques,” Pete Didisheim, advocacy director at NRCM, stated in an announcement. “We’re particularly happy that this regulation will assist shield Sebago Lake, which serves because the water provide for 200,000 Mainers. With four,000 tons inside 200 ft of the lake, containing about 2,700 septic techniques, this new regulation will assist shield public well being and clear water.”

The Maine Division of Environmental Safety and the Maine Division of Well being and Human Providers additionally supported the invoice, L.D. 216.

The Maine Affiliation of Realtors opposed the mandate, arguing that almost all actual property professionals already present a wealth of data geared toward guaranteeing consumers totally educate themselves concerning the property – together with the septic system – earlier than finishing a purchase order.

Air pollution from malfunctioning or ineffective septic techniques can contribute to nutrient overloads in adjoining waters. When mixed with runoff from fertilized lawns in addition to roads, septic air pollution can contribute to algae blooms, fish kills or different water high quality considerations in lakes and ponds.

Underneath the brand new regulation, which takes impact Jan. 1, homebuyers would have 9 months to finish an inspection if one was not possible prior to buy. Moreover, inspections wouldn’t be required if a septic system was put in throughout the earlier three years or if the home-owner may present a written copy of an inspection carried out through the earlier three years.

The Legislature handed an analogous invoice in 2017, however the measure was vetoed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

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