Septic Systems on the Way Out

Aug 26, 2011

The last of the septic systems inside the city Lexington will almost certainly become history someday.  First though, city officials must find the necessary funds.

Septic tanks were once commonplace in Lexington.  The concrete containers, which were normally buried, use a system of pipes to safely distribute waste water underneath a backyard.  But, Division of Engineering section manager Bob Bayert says the central Kentucky topography sometimes works against the process.

“The liquids will often try to find a bedrock layer and work their way into the ground water rather than actually being absorbed into the soil and then being broken down by microbes,” said Bayert.

Once there were thousands of septic systems within Lexington’s Urban Service Boundary, but, now, Bayert says 200 remain. 

The federal government has pushed Lexington into a renovation of its sewer system, but, city engineer Bob Bayert says the E-P-A is not behind this drive to eliminate septic systems.

“I’m not aware that it’s really covered by the consent decree.  It’s definitely something that we have to remain mindful of and take every opportunity to whittle that number down,” added Bayert.

Bob Bayert says the cost for connecting with a sewer line can run between 15-hundred and 34-hundred dollars.

“For households that are income qualifying, there is a program through community development where that fee can be covered as well, so it’s a good deal,” explained Bayert.

City officials hope to find money so homeowners can better afford the switch.  Bayert’s not sure when the last septic tank within Lexington’s service boundary will be sealed off for good.