Originally Posted By: gromicko
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Mass.: Assoc. Tries to Head off Percolating Issue
( February 16, 2004) -- On Jan. 1, 2004, a new, more lenient percolation rate standard, backed by the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS?, went into effect for septic systems in the state, according to Steve Ryan, MAR's general counsel. MAR has learned that at least one community is considering passing a local measure to avoid implementing the new state standard.
The percolation rate, or perk rate, is the speed at which water must dissipate into the ground in order for the land to be used for a septic system. If the ground can't absorb water fast enough, the theory goes, it isn't environmentally safe to host a septic system. If that's the case, the land can't be developed unless it's included in a municipal septic system.
Under the old perk rate, a developer couldn't install a septic system in an area in which it took longer than 30 minutes for water to soak into the ground. The new rate is 60-minutes-per inch. MAR has long argued that there's no scientific evidence to support the necessity for a 30-minute perk rate. The 60-minute rate standard is already in place in 48 states. In Massachusetts, Ryan says, localities have been using the 30-minute perk rate as a zoning tool to stop development.
MAR is asking its members in non-sewered areas to monitor upcoming meeting agendas of their local boards of health, and notify the association if it appears a board is trying to revert to the 30-minute standard.
?By Pat Taylor for REALTOR Magazine Online