FAQ - Onsite Sewage

Onsite Sewage

Q.
I have undeveloped land and I want to install a septic system, what are my first steps?

A. Step One: Apply for a site evaluation. The site evaluation determines if a site is acceptable. If the site is acceptable, the site evaluation identifies the best location, type and size of system for the undeveloped property.

Step Two: Submit an application for construction/installation permit. Once the application is received, the documents will be reviewed and either approved or denied within two to five business days. If approved, a construction/installation permit is issued. 

Step Three: Construction/Installation permit is issued. Once you receive the permit, you may begin installation of the septic system. You are required to submit a request for inspection after the installation is complete, but before the system is backfilled.

Step Four: After the inspection is completed and approved, backfill the installation.

Q.
I have an existing system but cannot determine what type of application I need. What are the different applications concerning existing systems?

A. Repair Permits are required for repairing/replacing failing sewage systems that serve existing facilities. 

Alteration Permits are required for changing/upgrading a sewage system for an existing facility.

Authorization Notices are evaluations of the existing system to determine if it is adequate for proposed use.

Existing System Evaluations are completed to determine the location and size of a system and to check if the system is currently functioning properly. 

Q.
What is the minimum capacity required for a tank and drainfield in relation to number of bedrooms?

A. A 1,000 gallon tank is the required minimum capacity for a home with one to four bedrooms. A 1,500 gallon tank is required for homes with five or more bedrooms. Specific septic tank capacities for commercial facilities are determined on a water use basis, generally a minimum of two times the projected daily sewage flow.  

Q.
Why do I need an "authorization" and why do I need a file review and how long does it take?

A. An authorization evaluates if the existing sewage disposal system is adequate for a specific use. This can include reconnecting to, changing the use of, or increasing the projected daily sewage flow of an existing septic system. Most notices require a field visit. Authorization evaluations are usually completed in ten business days.

A file review is required for additions to existing buildings, such as, construction of outbuildings, swimming pools, decks, etc., to assure that the placements of these structures do not infringe on any portion of the existing septic system or the replacement area. A file review is completed within two to five business days after we receive a completed application, plot plan, and the authorization of representative form (if applicable).

Q.
How big does my property need to be to install a septic system?

A. Generally, when a well is located on the lot, two or more acres is needed for a standard septic system and a replacement area. If a lot is served by a community or public water system, a lot as small as 1/2 acre may be adequate.

Q.
When does the "no field visit" fee apply in a permit renewal application or an authorization application?

A. Permit renewals, reinstatements, transfers, and authorization notices for systems that are less than five years old and that do not require alteration(s) of the septic system may not require a filed visit. 

Q.
How can I locate my septic system?

A. There are three ways to locate a septic system:
-- Contact our office. If an as-built drawing exists we can e-mail, fax or copy the appropriate plot plans.
-- Try to determine where the plumbing exits on the foundation and follow the sewage line to the tanks.
-- Contact a licensed plumber who has the equipment necessary to help locate the system.

See also:

Q.
Can I renew, reinstate or transfer my current septic permit?

A. Permits expire one year after the date of issuance and may be renewed or reinstated by the original permittee one time only. They must be renewed or reinstated within one year of the expiration date of the original permit and will expire one year after the original permit expiration date.


Permits may be transferred from the original permittee to a new property owner if the transfer is completed before the original permit expires, and no changes in the permit are needed. Otherwise, a new permit is required. A transferred permit carries the same expiration date as the original permit.

Note: Fee for renewal, reinstatement, or transfer of a permit is less than that of a new permit, see fee schedule.

See also: