OWTS Repair

This information is relevant for the replacement of an old or malfunctioning permitted, correctly sized Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS). See the Repair and Upgrade page to determine if your system is considered a Repair or an Upgrade.

OWTS are considered to have operational problems when conditions are found such as surfacing effluent, discharge of graywater, plumbing backing up into the house, or water quality degradation of nearby water resources, as indicated by water quality sampling or complaints.

Repair Standards apply if the current structure(s) does not exceed what the OWTS was permitted for as far as number of bedrooms and square footage. There is one-time/parcel allowance of less than 500 square feet if there are no additional bedrooms (a bedroom is any room other than a kitchen, bathroom, and one living space), unless a haulaway or non-conforming system is needed. Those non-standard systems are not allowed to add any space.

Repairs are categorized to be major or minor. All major repairs and some minor repairs need a permit from Environmental Health (EH). Septic Tank Destruction is a special type of repair with its own requirements.

Minor maintenance activities such as replacement of sanitary tees, effluent filters, lids, etc. do not require a permit.

Minor Repair such as the installation or replacement of a distribution device, diversion valve, damaged or clogged dispersal pipe resulting in a re-pipe but not replacement of a trench within the existing trench, greywater disposal system, or other repair work requires a Minor Repair Permit. In some cases, EH will require a Site Evaluation be conducted before a Permit Application for a Repair Permit is acted upon.

The first step to obtaining a permit for a major repair is to complete a Site Evaluation. The Site Evaluation will provide valuable information in determining the type of system and design that will work best on the property. The System Design and Site Evaluation information will be required when applying for an Installation Permit.

A Repair Permit (hereafter, “Permit” or “Installation Permit” when clarification is required) is required for any person to repair an OWTS (or install, construct, enlarge, replace, modify, repair, abandon or destroy). This applies whether you are an owner, contractor, company, or public agency. A Permit will only be issued to an owner or the owner’s authorized representative.

Sewage Disposal Application: Installation permit applications will only be accepted when determined to be complete. The application must include all the following:

  1. Completed Application for Sewage Disposal Permit
  2. All items listed on the back of the application and the Sewage Disposal Application Check List
  3. Complete System Design, including scaled Plot Plan, test results, study reports and all drawings as required per Site Evaluation Report
  4. Payment of all applicable fees
  5. Grading plan (when required by EH)
  6. Easement agreement or acknowledgement letter from neighbors if applicable
  7. Any additional information as required by EH (e.g., slope stability report or Geotechnical Report).