The week of Sept. 18-22 is officially SepticSmart Week in the city of Bella Vista, and residents are invited to a public engagement session with city planners to help celebrate the EPA-recommended observance and learn more about septic system maintenance.
"Lunch with Planners" is set for Monday, Sept. 18 from 11:30-1 p.m. at Gusano's Chicago-Style Pizzeria, 19 Cunningham Corner. Residents are asked to RSVP by Friday, Sept. 15 to secure a spot. You can do that by clicking on the city calendar event link at bellavistaar.gov.
The city's website points out that Bella Vista makes up only 5.2% of Benton County, land wise, yet has approximately 58% of permitted septic systems in the county. Furthermore, it mentions that 3 out of 4 existing homes in the city utilize septic systems, while the national average is approximately 1 out of every 5 homes.
Back in June, the City Council approved an update to city code to facilitate a move from septic systems to sewer service, requiring a sanitary sewer connection when a property sells and service becomes available in front of or on the side or rear of a house or adjoining lot.
The amendment does not say current homeowners using a septic system must convert immediately to a sewer system, but rather when and if the property is sold and a sewer line is available.
Therefore, logic suggests septic systems will continue to be utilized in Bella Vista for decades to come.
According to the EPA, SepticSmart Week brings attention to the importance of caring for and maintaining septic systems:
"There are challenges across the country due to improperly maintained or failing septic systems for many homeowners, local environmental groups, county health departments and local governments. EPA's SepticSmart program aims to provide materials and resources to increase homeowner education on septic systems and promote awareness in caring for them."
These resources can be accessed online at epa.gov/septic.
To underscore the importance of proper septic system maintenance, Bella Vista Mayor John Flynn issued the following proclamation:
"WHEREAS, proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our highly valued groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect; and
"WHEREAS, nearly 75 percent of homes in Bella Vista, Arkansas have wastewater treated by septic systems; and
"WHEREAS, wastewater professionals of Benton County, Arkansas and the state of Arkansas use their expertise in the design, installation, maintenance and regulation of septic systems in Bella Vista; and
"WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SepticSmart program used by Arkansas and Benton County health officials does educate homeowners about the need for proper septic system use and routine maintenance; and
"WHEREAS, residents and the environment of the City of Bella Vista, Arkansas benefit from properly designed, installed, operated, and maintained septic systems;
NOW THEREFORE, I, John D. Flynn, Mayor of Bella Vista, do hereby proclaim the week of September 18-22, 2023 as SepticSmart Week in the city of Bella Vista, Arkansas, and I urge all people to join me in this special observance."