House Bill 558: Plan Development

HB558 Final Report

HB558 requires the State Health Commissioner to develop a plan to reduce and eliminate evaluation and design services provided by VDH for onsite sewage system and private wells, shifting those direct services to the private sector.

The specific elements included in the plan include: consumer protection; transitional planning; internal procedures and improvements; and repair funding.

Consumer Protection Element

  • Transparency of cost. Provisions related to transparency of costs for services provided by the private sector, including:
    1. Options available;
    2. Necessary disclosures for cost of installation and operation and maintenance; and
    3. Recommendations to resolve disputes that might arise from private sector designs, warranties, or installations.
  • Consumer disclosure. Provisions for disclosing to the consumer that an option to install a conventional onsite sewage system exists in the event that an evaluator or designer specifies an alternative onsite sewage system where the site conditions will allow a conventional system to be installed.
  • Dispute resolution. Provisions for involvement by the Department in resolving disputes that may arise between the consumer and the private sector service providers related to evaluations or designs of onsite sewage systems and private wells.
  • Range of cost. An analysis of the ranges of costs to the consumer for evaluation and design services currently charged by the Department and ranges of the potential cost to the consumer for such services if provided by the private sector.

Transitional Planning Element

  • Final transition date. A date by which all site evaluations and designs will be performed by the private sector.
  • Transition timeline. A transition timeline to incrementally eliminate site evaluations and designs provided by the Department to fully transition all such services to the private sector.
  • Incremental timeline. A timeline to incrementally require private evaluations and designs for certain categories of services: applications for subdivision review, certification letters, voluntary upgrades, repairs, submissions previously accompanied by private sector work, new construction, and reviews pursuant to § 32.1-165 of the Code of Virginia.
  • Local transitions. A recommendation concerning whether the Department can reduce or eliminate services in a particular area on the basis of the number and availability of licensed private-sector professional engineers, onsite soil evaluators, and water well system providers to provide services in that particular area.
  • Fee changes. Necessary changes to application fees in order to encourage private sector evaluations and designs and projected schedules for those changes.
  • Services in underserved areas. Provisions for the continued provision of evaluation and design services by the Department in areas that are underserved by the private sector.

Internal Procedures and Improvements Element

  • Review procedures. Procedures and minimum requirements for the Department’s review of private evaluations and designs.
  • Program improvements. Necessary improvements in other services performed by the Department that may derive from the transition to private evaluations and designs, including:
    1. Programmatic oversight;
    2. Inspections;
    3. Review procedures;
    4. Data collection, analysis, and dissemination;
    5. Quality assurance;
    6. Environmental health surveillance and enforcement;
    7. Timely correction of failing onsite sewage systems and determination of reasons for failure;
    8. Operation and maintenance;
    9. Health impacts related t
    10. onsite sewage systems; and
    11. Water quality, including impacts of onsite sewage system on the Chesapeake Bay.

Repair Funding Element

  • Repair fund. A recommendation concerning the need to establish a fund to assist income-eligible citizens with repairing failing onsite sewage systems and private wells.