Septic System (Wastewater Disposal)

The Health Department's Environmental Health Wastewater section is responsible for authorizing construction, installation, reuse, and repair of wastewater systems.

North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services Regulations


Environmental Health is governed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Locally, Environmental Health enforces DHHS's regulations by making sure human waste is disposed of through approved wastewater systems. All residences, places of business, or places of public assembly must have approved wastewater systems.

Procedures


New Construction & Repairs to Existing Wastewater Systems


The owner (or authorized agent) of the property must fill out an application and prepare the property for evaluation. When the application and the site preparation are complete, an Environmental Health Specialist will go to the site and perform a site evaluation to determine suitability for a wastewater system.

Evaluation Scope
Six main factors are evaluated:
  • Available space
  • Restrictive horizons
  • Soil characteristics
  • Soil depth
  • Soil wetness
  • Topography and landscape position
The wastewater system is designed based on a proposed daily wastewater flow and soil criteria. The proposed daily wastewater flow for residential systems is based on number of bedrooms and/or number of residents. Non-residential flows are based on other factors which may include square footage of building, hours of usage, number of employees, and maximum occupancy. If the daily design flow is greater than 3000 gallons per day, the wastewater system plans must be reviewed and approved by DENR engineers. Following the site evaluation, the owner will be notified of the results of the evaluation.

Reuse of Existing Septic Systems


An existing wastewater system cannot be placed into reuse until it has been inspected and a permit is issued by an Environmental Health Specialist. In accordance with NC General Statutes, electrical service cannot be connected (or reconnected) to a structure until an existing system permit is obtained. Additionally, for mobile homes, if the home is disconnected from the wastewater system, an existing system permit must be obtained before another home can be transported to the site.

Final Wastewater System Approval


During construction of a wastewater system, an Environmental Health Specialist will conduct a final inspection to determine if the system has been installed in accordance with State laws, rules, and permit conditions.

Complaints for Wastewater


Complaints regarding wastewater (failing systems, illegal sink and washer drains) may be filed at the Environmental Health office. The complainant is required to give his/her name and a valid telephone number. An Environmental Health Specialist will investigate each complaint. Owners of property on which a violation is observed are issued a violation notice. If the violation is not corrected within a specified time period, appropriate legal action is taken.

Complaint Investigation


Environmental Health is responsible for investigating complaints received from the public against food and / or lodging establishments.