ROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Governor Gina Raimondo signed a piece of legislation into law Wednesday aimed at protecting public health and the environment.
The law looks to eliminate the remaining 25,000 house cesspools in the state. It was first proposed five years ago by several lawmakers, including House Representative Teresa Tanzi.
“I think it’s a really important day. I think that there’s so many different ways that we’re going to benefit as a state. Without getting too graphic, just consider all of the raw sewage, all of the untreated sewage from your home would leave the home and enter a colander and remain untreated,” said Tanzi.
The new law requires homeowners to replace the cesspool with either a septic tank or hooking up to their municipality’s sewage system less than one year after they sell their home.
Representative Tanzi says replacing a cesspool with a septic tank typically costs between $12,000-$15,000. Homeowners who choose to attach to their municipality’s sewage system pay around $7,000. Two percent loans are available for those who qualify.
Officials estimate that nearly 400 homeowners a year will be removing cesspools, a plan that will help bring out jobs.
“This legislation not only protects our environment, but gets Rhode Islanders in the building trades back to work updating and modernizing our wastewater treatment systems,” said Raimondo. “By setting us on a path to remove cesspools from yards and other property across the state, we will be taking important steps towards improving the water quality of Narragansett Bay, our beaches, and our drinking water.”
An official bill signing ceremony took place at the Save The Bay Center Wednesday morning.