Sec. 8-1. Short title.

Sec. 8-2. Adoption of on-site wastewater disposal and potable water supply regulations.

Sec. 8-3. Applicability of regulations.

Sec. 8-4. Definitions.

Sec. 8-5. Performance standards.

Sec. 8-6. Procedure for application for permit.

Sec. 8-7. Innovative/alternative systems and products.

Sec. 8-8. Land development.

Sec. 8-9. Potable water supply.

Sec. 8-10. Reconsideration, revocation and declaratory rulings.

Sec. 8-11. Inspection.

Sec. 8-12. Existing facilities.

Sec. 8-13. Penalty for violations and enforcement.

Sec. 8-1.   Short title.

This Chapter shall be known as the "Colchester On-Site Sewage Disposal and Potable Water Supply Regulations." 

(Ord. of 5-14-13; Ord. of 5-3-22) 

Sec. 8-2.   Adoption of on-site wastewater disposal and potable water supply regulations.

(a)  As of December 13, 2005, the Town of Colchester is a "Delegated Municipality" pursuant to the Environmental Protection Rules, Chapter 1: State Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Rules, hereafter referred to as the “EPRs.”. As such, the Town will be issuing all permits required under the State EPRs  in accordance with those rules. For the purposes of the State program the Town has been delegated, the only exemptions under the State rules that will be recognized by the Town are those codified in Section 1-303 of the EPRs: 

(b)  Except as specified in paragraph (a) of this Section, permits will be required by the Town for all projects. 

(c)  Notwithstanding the State delegation, all permits issued under the local permit program requirements of Colchester's Code of Ordinance—Chapter 8 continue to remain in effect unless or until they are amended under the State delegated program. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13; Ord. of 5-3-22) 

Sec. 8-3.   Applicability of regulations.

No individual subsurface sewage disposal system, no shared or community subsurface sewage disposal system, shall be built, altered, or used except in accordance with these regulations, and only after a permit has been issued by Wastewater Official. 

Where a municipal sanitary sewer is not available for connection from a building, and a sewage treatment facility involving an effluent to waters of the State is not available, the building sewer shall be connected to a subsurface sewage disposal system complying with the provisions of these regulations and any other applicable regulations. 

In the case of any other applicable regulations, by-law, ordinance or statute which differs from the requirements hereof, the more strict shall apply. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-4.   Definitions.

For the purposes of this Chapter, the following words shall have the meanings indicated unless their context clearly requires otherwise: 

Licensed Designer means an individual who has obtained a Class 1, Class A, Class B, or Class BW wastewater and potable water supply designer license from the Office of Professional Regulation in accordance with Chapter 7 of the EPRs.

Shoreline means the line defined by the intersection of the water level with those lands adjacent to Lake Champlain, Colchester Pond, and the Winooski and Lamoille Rivers. Measurements required for isolation from the shoreline shall be made from the normal high water mark. 

Wastewater Official means the legally designated on-site septic authority of the Town of Colchester or their authorized representative, as designated by the Town Manager. The Wastewater Official shall serve as Sewage Officer as defined in the EPRs. Additionally, under and pursuant to the authority granted by 24 V.S.A., Chapter 59 to "Municipal Officials," the Wastewater Official shall serve as the "Municipal Official" or "Enforcement Officer" for the Town for the purpose of enforcing these On-Site Sewage and Potable Water Supply Regulations, and shall possess all the authority granted such official in the enforcement of said regulations. Town Officers, upon being designated as Deputy Municipal Officials by the Town Manager, and subject to the overall direction of, the Wastewater Official, shall serve as Municipal Officials and shall possess all the authority of a Municipal Official in the enforcement of said regulations. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-5.   Performance standards.

The purpose of these regulations is to prevent health hazards and environmental damage caused by the improper treatment and disposal of wastewater. Individual, on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems shall be designed, constructed and operated so as to: 

(1)  Prevent the creation of health hazards; and 

(2)  Prevent surfacing sewage or the pollution or contamination of drinking water supplies, groundwater and surface water; and 

(3)  Ensure the provision of adequate drainage as related to the proper functioning of sewage disposal; and 

(4)  Ensure that facilities are designed and constructed in a manner which will promote sanitary and healthful conditions during operation and maintenance. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-6.   Procedure for application for permit.

(a)   The application requirements are specified in Section 1-305 of EPRs.

Application forms and other materials will be made available on the Town’s website for use by applicants.

(b) In those cases where there is a lease parcel, the property owner is considered to be the applicant, and as such the property owner or their duly certified representative must sign the application. The Town may require a copy of the document certifying that a representative has the authority to sign for the parcel owner. The lease holder of the lease parcel may be a signatory party to the application under terms of the lease between these two (2) parties. From the State and Town point of view, the property owner is the responsible party for the permitted on-site sewage disposal and potable water system. 

        (c) All fees for permits shall be paid at the time of application in accordance with Chapter 6½ of the Colchester Code of Ordinances as permitted by Section 1-605 of the EPRs. 

(c) Permits issued by the Town under delegated authority do not relieve the landowner from obtaining all other approvals and permits that may be required from other State Agencies, the Town, or other agencies with jurisdiction.

(Ord. of 5-14-14) 

Sec. 8-7.   Innovative/alternative systems and products.

(a) Only those innovative/alternative systems and products approved for use by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources shall be eligible for use in the Town. 


(b) When an application for a permit utilizing an innovative/alternative system is approved with conditions requiring annual inspections and/or reporting, it is the responsibility of the property owner to comply with those requirements. Non-compliance with these requirements can lead to revocation of an issued permit by the Wastewater Official.

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-8.   Land development.

Notwithstanding any other provisions set forth in the EPRs, these regulations shall apply to all land development as defined as follows: "land development" means any change in the use of any building or other structure, any construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation or enlargement of any building or other structure, which alters or increases water and/or sewage flows, unless the project is deemed exempt by the Wastewater Official per Section 8-2(a) of these regulations. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-9.   Potable water supply.

(a)  A municipal potable water supply development permit is required prior to drilling or otherwise constructing a new potable water supply. 

(b)  All new potable water supplies must meet the technical construction standards of the EPRs. 

(c)  Existing water supplies such as lake withdrawal, springs, dug wells, shallow drilled wells, and deep drilled wells that have been superseded by an approved potable water source such as a municipal water main connection or a drilled well are considered abandoned water supplies and will not be recognized as "protected water sources". Permit conditions will require that these sources be dismantled or sealed. 

(d)  Existing wells used for both domestic potable water consumption and for agricultural purposes such as livestock watering and irrigation that have been partially replaced by a new potable water source may continue in use if the property owner demonstrates that there are no cross-connections between the systems. 

(e)  Under no circumstances may there be a cross-connection between a municipal water main and any water supply, or water supply system, that is not under the control of the entity supplying the municipal potable water. 

(f)  Under no circumstances may there be a cross-connection between an approved potable water supply and a non-approved potable water supply. 

(g)  Existing or new water supply systems that do not meet either the referenced technical standards or the municipal permit requirements will not necessarily receive regulatory acknowledgement or protection. 

(h)   All connections to municipal water supplies shall be via a metered connection.

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-10.   Reconsideration, revocation and declaratory rulings.

Appeals in the case of the issuance of a ticket under Section 8-14 below shall be governed by the provisions of 4 V.S.A. Chapter 29. All other requests for reconsideration, declaratory rulings, and revocation per subchapter 5 of the EPRs  shall be governed by the following provisions: 

(1)  The Selectboard shall act as Secretary. The Director of Public Works shall act as Director of the Division. The Wastewater Official shall act as Regional Office Programs Manager. 

(2)  An interested party may request that the Wastewater Official reconsider or revoke an approved permit in accordance with the EPRs. 

(3)  In the case of declaratory rulings, the Selectboard shall take into consideration due advice from the State Agency of Natural Resources and the Wastewater Official. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-11.   Inspection.

No underground piping, septic tank or leaching facilities shall be covered until they have been inspected and approved for covering by the Wastewater Official or their authorized agent. No building requiring subsurface sewage disposal facilities shall be occupied until such facilities have been certified by a licensed designer. The Wastewater Official may waive the requirement for an inspection by his or her office. 

The certification described in Section 1-311 of the EPRs as applicable are required unless the on-site sewage official provides a written waiver stating otherwise. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-12.   Existing facilities.

Where a sewage system exists prior to the effective date of this regulation, and the Wastewater Official determines that it is creating a health hazard or health nuisance the Wastewater Official shall advise the owner (or lessee) of the inadequate sewage system and, when necessary, shall issue a written order for compliance with these regulations. The owner (or lessee) shall submit a proposed modification to the system to the Wastewater Official for review and approval, in accordance with the application procedure outlined in these regulations. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 

Sec. 8-13.   Penalty for violations and enforcement.

The Wastewater Official may initiate enforcement in accordance with Subchapter 5, Section 1-503, of the EPRs Additionally, pursuant to 24 V.S.A. Chapter 59 and 4 V.S.A. Chapter 29, any designated Enforcement Officer, as referenced in Appendix B, Section 1902, may commence prosecution for any zoning violation by serving two (2) copies of a Municipal Civil Complaint Ticket either in person or by first class mail on the alleged offender, and thereafter promptly filing the original with the Judicial Bureau. The Issuing Officer shall follow the procedure set forth by the Judicial Bureau for municipal complaint tickets. The first offense ticketed for a violation shall be punishable by a fine of two hundred dollars ($200.00), the waiver fee shall be one hundred dollars ($100.00); a second offense ticketed for the same violation shall be punishable by a fine of four hundred dollars ($400.00), the waiver fee shall be two hundred dollars ($200.00); a third offense ticketed for the same violation shall be punishable by a fine of eight hundred dollars ($800.00), the waiver fee shall be four hundred dollars ($400.00). Upon the fourth offense, the Town may request that the case be transferred from the Judicial Bureau to the Environmental Court, or any other Court of Competent Jurisdiction. A violation of these Regulations shall constitute a civil ordinance violation. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. 

(Ord. of 5-14-13) 



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Editor's note— An ordinance adopted May 14, 2013, amended Ch. 8 in its entirety to read as herein set out. Former Ch. 8 pertained to the same subject matter and derived from ordinances adopted Feb. 24, 2004; June 17, 2007; and July 24, 2012. (Back)




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