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Starkey will work to revise wastewater law ADVERTISEMENT

Starkey will work to revise wastewater law

STARKEY--The Starkey town board has decided not to move forward with the final draft of a proposed local law on wastewater that would have impacted residents who use a septic system at their property. In a letter to the town, it explained the adoption of the law would not move forward and a public hearing scheduled for last week was canceled.
"Some people raised some good concerns with it and we decided it needed some serious amending, so we are going to go through the process to do that," said Town Supervisor George Lawson.
With the proposed law withdrawn and work being done to revise it, the town is expected to hold a new informational meeting at the beginning of 2022 to further discuss the reasons as to why the new wastewater regulation is needed.
"We aren't going to start from scratch, we are going to relook at a number of items," said Lawson, adding, "and then hopefully we would have the new law in by next summer."
The impetus for wanting to implement a new wastewater law stemmed from septic inspections of short term rentals in the area which found a 25 percent failure rate.
Additional issues brought up in the letter issued by Starkey also mention that a state Department of Environmental Conservation map of local streams "is not accurate" and that the goal of the new law is compliance, not punishment.
Local residents took issue both online and in a petition at businesses, with the idea of warrants potentially being used to conduct septic inspections. The letter says this clause is actually similar to fire or building codes and in 20 years a warrant has only been used once for an inspection.
"Going forward I would encourage you to share other concerns or ideas," Lawson states in the letter.
Part of that process will most likely include another mass town mailing, which Lawson said isn't cheap but worth it.
Along with the special email address set up by Lawson to address concerns regarding the new law, a draft of the proposal was downloaded over 550 times off of the town website.
"While not a lot of people emailed us, those that did brought up some very good points," Lawson added.
Seneca County recently passed a wastewater law that looked to address many of the same issues as Starkey. In the letter to the town, it asks residents to look at their version and provide feedback about the positives and negatives.

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