The Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services, Environmental Engineering, and Marina Programs has initiated a program that will enable sharing of data important to stakeholders about the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) onsite sewage program. This effort will begin with the posting of operation and maintenance (O&M) data for alternative onsite sewage systems (AOSS) and alternative discharging sewage systems (ADSS) on the Division’s website. The source of these data are private sector operators who submit required reports to VDH. Because use of the VENIS database is limited to VDH personnel, sharing the data requires extraction from VENIS, and converting and reposting it in a location and format that is accessible to stakeholders.
This data-share effort responds to provisions of House Bill 2477 of the 2017 General Assembly session, requiring VDH to:
- “Expand efforts to educate the public concerning the design, operation and maintenance of onsite sewage systems…”, and
- “Improve the collection and management of data about onsite sewage systems and private wells…”
We also anticipate that posting of this data will reduce the number of requests VDH receives through FOIA requests, and respond to complaints the Division heard when the 2017 General Assembly session considered Senate Bill 1577.
We anticipate stakeholders will routinely look at this data to (1) assess function and treatment efficacy of proprietary treatment systems and devices; (2) use the data to recommend treatment methodology or proprietary or branded systems based on statistical or other analysis of sampling and maintenance results; and (3) allow Owners and Operators to monitor performance of installed systems for which they have shared responsibility.
The posted data will be refreshed quarterly with data received since it was last updated. The initial data sets, accessible below, includes reports received from 2011 to third quarter 2017. The entries in the column N – labeled “Certify” – indicate the Operators assessment of the functioning of the AOSS or ADSS as provided for by 12VAC5-613-190 and 12VAC5-640-510. Specifically,
- “good” denotes the system was found to be functional and operating as intended,
- “bad” indicates the system is not functioning properly and requires further follow-up to restore proper functioning, and
- “fixed” denotes system functionality has been restored subsequent to operator intervention.
VDH views this is as an important step in more efficiently and effectively communicating information regarding onsite wastewater systems and their efficacy in protecting the environment and the public health of its stakeholders. VDH appreciates the consideration and cooperation of all stakeholders as this program evolves, recognizing that we all have a common goal of continuous improvement. In 2018 VDH will be replacing the VENIS database with a new system that we anticipate will be more responsive to the changing needs of its stakeholders, and offer opportunities for more efficient and effective information management.
The final report of the committee charged with the initial implementation of this data sharing effort may be accessed by stakeholders by using the link provided below: