Overview

Historically, septic waste was considered “out-of-sight, out-of-mind.” If you could flush your toilet or the outhouse didn’t overflow, you didn’t have a problem with your septic system. However, as more and more people followed this thinking and dumped sewage from homes and businesses into ditches, creeks, rivers, and lakes, surface water started to show signs of contamination and people got sick. As population density increased, it was clear methods had to be devised and structures created to treat the waste, but the focus was to “waste” as little land as possible for the septic system. This practice of concentrating effluent in a small area put the surrounding groundwater at risk.

Today, a properly functioning on-site septic system must accept the sewage from the structure without backing up into the home or ponding on the surface and yet treat the effluent so that groundwater is not contaminated. To do this the soil must be permeable enough to let the water soak in, but not so permeable that it runs through. Ultimately, the septic effluent must be applied at a rate that the soil is able to treat.

Thus, septic systems are designed specifically for the location of the absorption field. They are sized based upon the number of bedrooms in the home and the type of soil. System type is then determined by using this information and construction requirements tempered with site characteristics such as topography.

As you can see, many factors interweave when determining specification standards and system siting. For these reasons the system of yesterday may not be adequate for our world today. If your system fails, the site characteristics on your property and current laws may not allow the same type of system for the replacement. The correct design, construction, and maintenance of on-site septic systems are necessary to ensure that viruses, bacteria, and chemicals released from septic systems do not enter the groundwater or pond on the surface causing a threat to the public health. We are available to discuss these issues with you if you have questions.

Understanding Your Septic System

A septic system is a privately maintained small-scale wastewater treatment plant. Community-sized wastewater treatment plants retain experts to operate and maintain their facilities. Similarly, the owner of a private septic system must have a sound understanding of their system in order to maximize their system’s life span and treatment capabilities. Improperly maintaining a septic system could cost a homeowner $1,000’s and contaminate the homeowner and surrounding neighbor’s drinking water. Therefore, the video and links below will provide you with enough information to adequately understand your septic system:

Additional Resources

Programs

The Health Department is responsible for reviewing and approving applications for permits to install on-site septic systems for residential and commercial properties to ensure they are designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with State and County laws. The department also investigates complaints alleging the improper installation, maintenance, and function of septic systems.

Contractor Registration

The Health Department requires all septic contractors to be registered. Below, you will find a list of registered contractors, broke out into three categories: Septic Inspectors Only, Installers of Gravity Systems Only, & Installers and Inspectors of Gravity and Pump Assisted Systems. These lists change often; we update them every May. Therefore, please call the Health Department for the most recent list.

Registered Septic Inspector Only

Registered Installer of Gravity Systems Only

Registered Installer & Inspector of Gravity and Pump Systems

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Contractor Registration Requirements – Septic

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Contractor Registration Application – Septic

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Inspector/Installer Registration Application - Septic