By Joe Beck
A bill that would grant a six-month interim license extension to some septic service operators concerned about their ability to pass a qualifying exam passed the state Senate unanimously Thursday.
The bill now goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who will decide whether to approve, amend or veto it.
The bill is a response to complaints from many of those in the septic tank cleaning and maintenance business who fear the licensing test will lead to the loss of their businesses. They argue that it is designed for engineers and others with at least a college degree, and contains questions that have little bearing on the everyday requirements of their jobs.
The septic service businesses in question have been operating under a four-year interim license that would be replaced by a permanent license upon passage of the test.
Critics of the test contend the six-month extension provided for in the legislation doesn't solve their main problem, which is that the test is excessively and needlessly stringent.
The test, which is administered by a board affiliated with the state Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, was created for those installing and maintaining sewage disposal systems designed for use in soils deemed unsuited for traditional septic tanks.
Mary Broz Vaughan, director of communications with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, said the bill could still return to the General Assembly if McAuliffe does not sign it.
"If he were to amend or veto it, the General Assembly would consider amendments or vetoes at their reconvened session on April 23," Broz Vaughan said.
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Saturday.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org