Texas Family Wants to Strengthen Safety of Septic Tanks

The family of a little girl who recently drowned when she fell into a septic tank at her home in Argyle was in Austin, Texas, recently, determined to convince state legislators to pass a law that would help keep such a tragedy from happening again.

The Galvan family is calling their proposed amendments to H.B. 229 "Ali's Law," in memory of three-year-old Alisandra Galvan, who disappeared on Feb. 17 while playing in the yard at a home the family had just moved into. The child's family, friends, and local authorities searched the area, only to find Ali had fallen through the lid of the opening of the home's septic tank and drowned.

The amendment would mandate that anyone installing or repairing a septic system be bonded and insured and would require mandatory reporting of safety violations. HB 229 originally was introduced in the Texas Legislature last fall by Rep. Jim Pitts of Waxahachie and was assigned to the Environmental Regulations Committee on the day Ali died. The Galvans are suggesting several amendments to the bill, including minimum bonding amounts and mandatory reporting of safety violations.

The Galvan family and their attorney met with legislators to discuss the bill and amendments that would:

  • Require anyone who constructs, inspects, alters, extends, services, maintains, or repairs an on-site sewage disposal system to show the state evidence of a bond or insurance of no less than $2 million.
  • Require reporting of any on-site sewage disposal system that is not in compliance with state regulations.

"This tragedy was preventable," said Jim Girards of The Girards Law Firm in Dallas, who represents the Galvan family. "If these requirements had already been law, Ali likely wouldn't have died. We are asking every legislator who is willing to listen to do everything in his or her power to keep this from happening to another family."