New Soil Test Route: Mississippi Health Department now using website support

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2016

Residents interested in installing an onsite wastewater system at their home now have an online resource to do so.
Since municipalities do not allow onsite waste water systems, otherwise known as septic tanks, this change only applies to county residents.
Previously there was a method to go to a physical office to set up a soil test, but now homeowners are urged go to the online resource. Via this resource, an application can be filled out through the Mississippi Health Department’s website, or by calling the health department’s wastewater call center.
Information is collected at the call center and then invoiced through an electronic payment method. Inspectors will show up with a tablet that has cellular Internet access, so the entire process can be conducted while the inspector is onsite.
Once a call is made, it will take about a day for an inspector to arrive.
“We really believe that, in the long run, this will increase the efficiency,” said Mississippi Health Department Deputy Director of Environmental Melissa Parker.
Homeowners will then be emailed a copy of the recommendation. Once the septic system is installed they can contact the health department within 24 hours to have the final inspection conducted, Parker said.
One of the reasons for the change was to make better use of the limited funding the health department has received. Director of Communications Liz Sharlot said the Mississippi Health Department has seen a 44 percent decline in the number of patients, in part due to the Affordable Health Care Act. She said now that more people have insurance, less patients come to the health department. Additionally, the health department’s fees has not seen an increase in two decades, so they are losing money in some of the services they provide, such as inspections of restaurants, hospitals, day cares and water systems.
An increase in fees is being considered, but not approved at this time.
The reduction in patients is also caused the health department to consider a reduction in clinic hours, Sharlot said.
To find out more about the changes to the onsite wastewater application process or to submit an application visit,0,78.html or call 1-855-220-0192.

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