COLUMN: Septic opponents should be careful what they wish for

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Screaming for government to be fair is sometimes no different than one sibling quibbling with another over who takes the first bath.

Eventually, everyone gets a good soaking.

Soaked is likely what everyone who owns a septic tank will eventually get, thanks to a crowd of about 50 people who voiced their displeasure during last Wednesday’s board of health meeting.

Not that they didn’t have a legitimate complaint. The very idea that those who own homes only several years old should have to have their tanks pumped every three years is foolish, especially when the rest of the county’s tank owners don’t.

Common sense dictates that the newest tanks are the most sound and the oldest the most potentially hazardous.

But here’s the rub: By pointing out that piece of what appears to be missing logic to the health board, those who spoke their minds inadvertently gave the board permission to go after everyone.

And to make matters worse, the board can now claim it is simply doing what the public demanded at a public hearing.

Here’s what’s likely going to happen: The health board will reconvene somewhere down the road (it meets quarterly) and issue a dictate that anyone operating a septic tank has a defined period of time to notify the health department. Those who don’t and are found out a later time will be subject to a fine.

Then, once all the tank owners are duly noted, the board will seemingly compromise its stance and decide that everyone — new and old alike — will have their tanks pumped every five years.

Once that happens, those who argued about fairness will be silenced, leaving the screaming to those suddenly subject to yet another government oversight where one doesn’t necessarily need to exist.

Unintended consequences, indeed.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.