Wastewater: Private Sewage Disposal
Because many of the small towns in south-central Utah are spread out and have smaller populations it is not feasible for these communities to have large public sewer systems, therefore small individual onsite systems are use for the disposal of domestic wastewater. The Health Department spends over 3100 hours and covers over 17,000 square miles insuring the proper installation of these individual wastewater systems. The CUPHD provides the following wastewater services:
- Issue permits for all new wastewater systems.
- Enforce Utah Department of Environmental Quality Rules for individual wastewater systems.
- Conduct on-site inspection of the individual wastewater system to determine compliance with regulations.
- Investigate complaints and provide consultation on correction items.
How to Get a Septic Tank Permit
Contact the Environmental Health Scientist in the county in which you plan to build.
Get Your Soil Tested
Contact several local Certified Soil Testers to get a price on the soil test. You will need to provide the tester some information:
- Number of bedrooms in the house
- Will it have a finished basement? (Extra bedrooms can be added in a basement, and we figure the tank size based upon the number of bedrooms in the house)
- Approximate location of the house, tank, and leachfield within the lot.
- Well site (if you are not on city water)
- Prospective sites of gardens, driveways, garages or outbuildings, RV dumps, extra bathrooms in work shops, mother-in-law apartments, or other individual features.
- Arrange for the soil test. The soil test determines how much leachfield you will need. The Certified Soil Tester will design your system, calculate the tank size, leachfield configuration, and help you site the system observing all applicable setbacks and other requirements.
Please note that the soil test may give you bad news - high groundwater, shallow bedrock, saturated soil, or heavy clay may require more leachfield than you planned on. Some locations may be found to be unsuitable for onsite wastewater sytems. Get the soil test results before you buy the land.
Be aware that our department does not allow alternative systems such as mound or at-grade systems, or aerobic or composting toilets. We have tried these systems in the past, and they all failed, creating releases of waste and other nuisances. Upon payment of the permit fee, we will issue the permit, which is required by most counties to get a building permit.
- $365 for any tank up to 2500 gallons
- $395 for any tank bigger than a 2500 gallons
- $25 State Wastewater Permit Fee
Commercial Septic Systems
Commercial buildings can be served by septic systems. Please contact the scientist in your county about requirements. Systems serving flows of 5,000 gallons a day or more have to be reviewed by the District Engineer.
Septic System Problems
Septic tanks serve an important function: to separate solid waste from liquids. Eventually, the solid waste has to be removed, or it builds up to the point that it gets carried over into the leach field to clog it.
ALL septic tanks need to be cleaned sooner or later.
Septic problems come in two general varieties:
- The toilet won't flush.
- Contaminated water comes up in your yard.
With both problems your first step is to get the tank cleaned out. If either problem persists, you may need to replace your leach field, especially if it's over twenty years old, and you have not pumped out your tank on a regular basis. Questions? Call the scientist in your local office.
How Can I Find My Septic Tank?
Each Environment Health Scientist keeps files of wastewater systems we have inspected in the past. You can ask for a copy of your inspection report if you need to find your septic tank or leach field, if you need to pump out the tank or find your leach field. These records go back to 1987, so you will need to know the name of the person who had the system installed either a contractor or the original homeowner.
Subdivision Feasibility Reviews
If a subdivision of any kind is being planned, whether it's the splitting of a house lot off of a larger parcel, or the planned subdivision of house lots from a farm field, a subdivision feasibility review must be done on the property if it cannot be connected to a public sewer system.
First, the soil on each prospective lot must be examined to determine if it can take an onsite wastewater system. The soil exploration must be conducted by a Certified Soil Tester, and the Review must be done by a Professional Engineer, preferably one experienced in Subdivision Reviews.
Please Contact the Environmental Health Scientist in the county in which you plan to subdivide.