SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

New regulations concerning common outfalls

By Bill Elberson


March 1, 2017
Wednesday PM

Dear Editor

Ketchikan residents that have septic tanks connected to an ocean outfall should check out the State DEC new regulations concerning common outfalls.

It’s available on DEC’s web site at:

An example of how this works follows: Take a one mile section of North Tongass beach with four septic outfalls. Number 1 is hooked to a professionally installed and maintained septic tank. The owner participates in the Borough sludge and pumping program. No problem - EXEMPT. Outfall Number 2 is a straight pipe from the residents plumbing into the ocean. It has been dumping raw sewage for thirty years. Also EXEMPT. Outfall number 3 is shared by two neighbors. They both have properly installed, maintained tanks. They participate in the Borough program. PROBLEM. “OK neighbors you are now in the DEC gunsights. You get to pay DEC annual fees and are subject to a world of testing and they are going to look into your pipe twice a year and there better not be any poo in there. You will be subject to fines.” Outfall number 4 is a neighborhood with properly installed and maintained septic tanks. It has enough homes attached to qualify for the DEC bonus program. HUGE PROBLEM. This means more testing including examination of the pipe every single month forever. What could possible change in a month? Maybe someone is bringing home plutonium and dumping it in the toilet. Single outfall users could be next it the DEC need to over-regulate. By the way, DEC required these common outfalls for rural subdivisions in the ’80’s.

A professionally installed and maintained septic outfall system produces less pollution per person that the city sewer systems of Ketchikan and Anchorage. Anchorage has a waiver allowing them to dump 58 million gallons of primary only treated sewage into Cook Inlet every day.

Call Governor Walker 907-465-3500. DEC has too much money ... maybe we can have our Permanent Fund back.

Bill Elberson
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received March 1, 2017 - Published March 1, 2017




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