At a subdivision near Salmon, Idaho, town officials imposed a building moratorium because of septic system problems. East of Salmon, another development is so saturated with septic slurry that it has caused some homes to slip downhill.
Although water throughout most of Idaho is of excellent quality, Greg Eager, a water expert with Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality, says the problems beginning to surface were caused by poor planning and lax regulation. "It's a time bomb waiting to happen," he says.
But Eager points out that homeowners often balk at paying the price for a sound septic system. "They'll have a huge house that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and when it comes down to it, buying carpet is more important than the septic system." Commissioners in both Lemhi and Fremont counties now encourage homeowners to fix septic problems by creating sewer districts that would cost each family $35 to $75 a month.