CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – If you live in Ohio and have a septic system, we have some information you need to know. Mahoning County Public Health alerted homeowners to changes from the state at a public information meeting Tuesday night.

Back in 2015, the state mandated that homeowners will have to have their septic tanks inspected and permitted.

“It’s not that we wanted to wait until the last minute but we did want to hold back and let other counties take the lead on this. We wanted to see what worked well,” said Colton Masters, of Mahoning County Public Health.

Mahoning County has until 2025 to make sure homeowners are in compliance with the law. These inspections will need to be carried out by a private contractor.

“They are going to look at the different aspects of it and see if there are smaller repairs that need to be made and see if everything is functioning correctly,” Masters said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, nearly 31 percent of all septic systems in Ohio are failing.

“If sewage is discharged directly onto the soil at the surface — it’s not treated, it’s not maintained — that bacteria and the diseases associated with it can seep through the ground into the groundwater,” Masters said.

There is a fee associated with the permitting. Masters says though the state is requiring system checks, it is not providing funding, so the cost falls on the homeowner.

“We don’t want to raise everyone’s taxes, we don’t want to have to put levies on the ballot, things like that. Frankly, it’s just not fair,” Masters said.

There are three levels of septic systems. The one at your house will determine how much your permit fee is.

“Level one are your most simplistic systems, those are your septic tank to leach field septic systems. Those are the most common by far in the county,” Masters said.

Most people in Mahoning County with a septic system will be receiving a letter with instructions and will have one month to show that their septic is working properly and pay the permitting fee. Any unpaid fees will be added to your property taxes along with a penalty fee.

Click here to view the full PowerPoint discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting.