Septic system problems are most often found by inspection in escrow, when a quick repair is very important. At present, a contractor can go to City Hall and get—over the counter—a permit to replace septic tanks and seepage pits. However, the 19 homes nearest Well #8 would be referred to Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (“LARWQCB”) for seepage pit permits because the City lacks such authority within 600 feet of a water well.
An LARWQCB official admitted last week that their target is to issue such permits in 3-4 months, but a Public Records Act production shows that a permit application filed for a Camarillo home September 14, 2020 still has not been granted 33 months later. That contractor told us 6-8 months would be a more realistic project time estimate.
When a seepage pit permit issues, the homeowner starts paying LARWQCB $1,727 annually. In contrast, the City does not charge an annual fee.
In a worst-case scenario, the LARWQCB permit would contain requirements to install an “advanced treatment unit” costing about $75,000 (2020 prices) and to contract with a professional for quarterly maintenance and sampling at a cost of about $3,500 per year. The annual permit fee would be $3,453, and the total cost over 20 years well over $200,000.
As previously reported, Crestview has filed a letter with the City saying it would “step into the shoes of any neighbor whose septic system repair or replacement encounters any issue arising out of Well #8.” However, follow-up communications make it clear Crestview does not intend to pay for ongoing annual fees and costs, costs of installing advanced treatment units, or damages caused by long delays in obtaining permits.
These procedures and costs are explained in a 70-page brief placed in the Well #8 permit file by two near neighbors of Well #8 in January 2021. All of costs stated above are in addition to what the contractor charges to replace the seepage pit. The problems are similar for Well #7, but fees would be lower because permits for that location would be issued by Ventura County.
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