If a contractor tells a homeowner in Los Osos that it’s cheaper or safer to get rid of their septic tank, we urge them to get another opinion. Having the tank cleaned, disinfected, and closed back up for future repurposing is the least expensive decommissioning option according to the bids we received—$200 to $500 less than filling the tank with soil or concrete.
If homeowners can afford it, we recommend having the tank repurposed to a rainwater harvesting system when they connect to the project. This option saves on water costs and helps stop seawater intrusion to save the community’s sole water source, the Los Osos Water Basin. San Luis Obispo County encourages repurposing septic systems as a safe and cost-effective alternative to destroying the systems.
Most septic tanks in Los Osos are 1,000 to 1,200 gallons, so they can be filled up with just two inches of rain collected off half of the roof of a typical Los Osos home.
If all property owners connecting to the new Los Osos sewer system repurpose their tanks to rainwater reuse systems, around 10 million gallons of water could be saved from being pumped from the basin.
The county is considering rebates for repurposing and other outdoor conservation measures, in addition to the current rebates for indoor measures. Second District Supervisor Bruce Gibson has said he is not opposed to having some of the Los Osos Wastewater Project conservation funds go to outdoor measures. We encourage residents to contact Supervisor Gibson and members of the Los Osos Basin Management Committee requesting that the rebates are implemented in the near future to maximize benefits for homeowners and the Basin.
To save the basin, the Los Osos Sustainability Group (LOSG) challenges all Los Osos residents to set “zero outdoor potable water use” as a goal with rainwater and gray water reuse. Why shouldn’t Los Osos be one of the most water-efficient communities in the state and nation? Maximizing conservation now with repurposing and other measures offers an opportunity to help save the basin we can’t afford to waste.
-- Los Osos Sustainability Group - Los Osos