During the 2002 Session of the General Assembly, a new Code section (O.C.G.A. § 12-8-41) was added to require that the Department of Natural Resources and its Environmental Protection Division (EPD) begin regulating and permitting land disposal sites that receive septic tank waste from more than one waste hauler. This new Code section also required that all new permits include written approval from the host county. The new law was intended to move regulation of these facilities from the Department of Human Services and local health departments of DHR to EPD.
LHR Farms requested such a letter from White County but was unable to obtain such a letter in a timely manner and became concerned that counties had not been given any standards or criteria upon which to judge or issue such letters.
During the 2005 Session, LHR Farms lobbied to change the law governing these operations to eliminate the requirement for county letters of approval for pre-existing sites. This change was adopted into law.
Last year, Code Section 12-8-41 was again modified to remove altogether the county letters of approval requirement and to set an absolute deadline of July 1, 2012 for all septic disposal sites, no matter how big or small, to be permitted by EPD.
Rules to establish permitting guidelines for these facilities and to implement these legislative changes were determined by the Georgia Board of Natural Resources this month.