Lloyd to Ohio to Testify on Septic System Scams At Ohio Environment and Natural Resources Committee

I’m flying to Columbus, Ohio Tuesday (May 12) to testify at the Ohio Environment and Natural Resources Committee on a bill (S.B. 100) sponsored by Senator Tim Grendell that seeks to stop Ohio realtors, lobbyists, engineers, and health department regulators from forcing the state’s homeowners into new high-tech, expensive, and most often, unnecessary septic system standards.

I got a call from Senator Grendell’s office two days ago; they had read my March 2008 article in The Mother Earth News on septic systems scams throughout the U.S. (Click here for article.) They had printed 100 copies of the article to distribute to various people. Would I be interested in testifying. Yes!

Briefly: we published The Septic Systems Owner’s Manual some years ago since there was no clear book on septic systems for homeowners. I was fascinated by this method of “on-site wastewater disposal” that used gravity for power (no motors or electricity), and naturally-occurring soil organisms for purification. Talk about something green!

But: “Where there’s muck, there’s brass.”

-Old English saying

There’s big money to be made. Right now, throughout the U.S., homeowners are facing self-serving engineers, regulators, lobbyists, realtors, et al, who have a modus operandi something like this: pathogens are (supposedly) discovered in a creek, river, bay, or ground water and assumed to be from failing septic systems. No effort is made (via DNA testing — now available) to ascertain just which mammals are responsible. Cows, deer, raccoons, birds, humans? Homeowners, entire towns are being faced with draconian regulations and, guess what? Huge costs — in my neck of the woods, $40,000 or so. And ironically, environmental destruction with “mounds” — elevated drainfields.

If you’re a homeowner and this hasn’t happened to you yet, be aware. It’s coming. Be forewarned. See chapter 10 from our book, “Excessive Engineering and Regulatory Overkill” by clicking here (There are 5 full chapters from the book on our website that you can read, free of charge.)

So I’m off to Ohio to present a layman’s, non-academic, homeowner’s perspective on the validity of the gravity-fed septic system. Stay tuned.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

4 Responses to Lloyd to Ohio to Testify on Septic System Scams At Ohio Environment and Natural Resources Committee

  1. Lloyd, love your book, but I'm confused why you are supporting this bill? Based on some of things you say in your book, I would have guessed you would be opposed to this bill and supportive of SB 110. I'm an Ohio resident and have followed this issue very closely for years. Do you believe in placing conventional systems in saturated soils? Do you believe in higher vertical seperation distances in good soils? Honestly, when I read your blog that you were coming to testify in support of this bill, I was SHOCKED. SB 100 simply allows local health boards to rule supreme over system choice, which based upon historical evidence, meant MORE unecessary expensive systems (mounds, drip, expensive pretreatment, etc…) and less conventional gravity systems. This has been documented. This is a local political control issue, Lloyd, and I hope you were not misinformed by this bill's sponsor. If you are coming to testify, I would at least contact the other bill's sponsor and get more accurate information on whats REALLY going on and not rely on what you've been told by this man.

  2. oldmanseptic,
    I'm coming to describe my experiences in the field, as outlined in the article in Mother Earth News. I'm not analyzing or promoting one bill or the other. I'll be talking about the modus operandi of discounting gravity-fed systems and promoting mounds. Read my article.

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