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Oregon Onsite Wastewater Management (14-OR-f)

Over 30% of Oregonians dispose of wastewater from their homes and businesses through the use of septic systems. The siting, design, installation and ongoing operation and maintenance of septic systems are regulated by DEQ. Without this oversight, septic systems can fail or malfunction, pollute Oregon’s land and waterways with raw sewage and create public health hazards.

DEQ directly manages the onsite septic system program in 12 counties, referred to as “direct service” counties. Twenty-four counties manage the program under contract with DEQ, referred to as “contract counties”. DEQ and the contract counties are also responsible for ensuring that septic tank pumpers have the necessary equipment to safely pump, transport and dispose of the waste from septic systems, known as septage. In addition, DEQ certifies and licenses installers and pumpers, and reviews and approves products such as septic tanks, alternative treatment technologies and alternative drainfield products.

(See DEQ Website)

Onsite Wastewater Management Process

14-OR-f.1 - Contact DEQ for Construction-Installation Permit Information for Flow Over 2,500 Gallons Per Day

Certain onsite systems must obtain a Water Pollution Control Facilities (WPCF) permit. They include a system that:

  • Has a projected daily sewage flow greater than 2,500 gallons, or
  • Handles sewage with a greater strength than residential wastewater, or
  • Uses a technology identified by DEQ as warranting regulation.

(See DEQ Onsite System Regulations Website)

14-OR-f.2 - Application for Site Evaluation, Fee, Map, Directions

A site evaluation is the first step in the process of obtaining a construction-installation permit for an onsite system. Except as otherwise provided, before obtaining a permit to construct an onsite system, the developer must obtain a site evaluation report finding the site suitable for an onsite system.

Completed applications for site evaluations must be submitted to the DEQ with all required exhibits and the applicable site evaluation fee.

Unless other procedures are approved by the DEQ for a contract county, applicants must provide at least two test pits, with dimensions and configuration as directed by a DEQ agent, located approximately 75 feet apart and within the area of the proposed system, including the repair/replacement area.

(OAR 340-071-0150)

For customized forms and guidelines according to county, access the DEQ Onsite Wastewater Management Program Site Evaluation website.

14-OR-f.3 - Site Evaluation Report

The DEQ agent or, for WPCF permits, an agent or a qualified private contractor must evaluate the site of the proposed system, consider all system options, and provide a report of such evaluation.

The site evaluation report must be on a form approved by the department.

The report must contain, at a minimum, a site diagram and observations of the following site characteristics.

(A) Parcel size;

(B) Slope in absorption field and replacement areas (percent and direction);

(C) Surface streams, springs, other bodies of water;

(D) Existing and proposed wells;

(E) Escarpments;

(F) Cuts and fills;

(G) Unstable landforms;

(H) Soil profiles determined from test pits provided by applicant;

(I) Water table levels (as indicated by conditions associated with saturation or water table observations);

(J) Useable area for initial and replacement absorption areas;

(K) Encumbrances observed or listed on the application;

(L) Sewerage availability;

(M) Other observations including off-site features as appropriate.

(OAR 340-071-0150)

14-OR-f.4 - Was Site Evaluation Favorable?

The developer may only proceed with construction of an onsite wastewater treatment system if the site evaluation is favorable.

14-OR-f.5 - Application for Construction-Installation Permit, Site Evaluation Report, Land Use Compatibility Statement, Map, Plans

For customized forms and guidelines according to county, access the DEQ Onsite Wastewater Management Program website.

Construction-Installation Permit Fees

  • For the first 1,000 gallons per day (gpd) - $1,008 for a standard on-site system, and between $864 and $1,520 for alternative systems.
  • For systems with greater than 1,000 gpd - An additional fee of $96 for each 500 gallons of daily capacity above 1,000 gallons.
  • Application Surcharge - $60

To include with the application:

  • The Site Evaluation Report
  • Land Use Compatibility Statement signed by the local land use authority, and
  • Plans and specifications for the installation of the system.

(See DEQ Onsite System Regulations Website)

14-OR-f.6 - Construction Installation Permit

The DEQ will issue or deny the permit within 20 days or receiving the complete application.

The agent must deny a permit if any of the following occurs (OAR 340-071-0160)

(a) The application contains false information.

(b) The application was wrongfully received by the agent.

(c) The proposed system would not comply with applicable requirements in this division or in OAR chapter 340, division 073.

(d) The proposed system, if constructed, would violate a commission moratorium under OAR 340-071-0460.

(e) The proposed system location is encumbered as described in OAR 340-071-0130(8).

(f) A sewerage system that can serve the proposed sewage flow is both legally and physically available, as described in paragraphs (A) and (B) of this subsection.

14-OR-f.7 - Conduct Pre-Cover Inspection Unless Waived

(1) System installers must request a pre-cover inspection when construction, alteration, or repair of a system is complete except for backfill (cover) and as otherwise required by a permit. The agent must inspect the installation to determine whether it complies with this division, unless the agent waives the inspection in accordance with section (2) of this rule or OAR 340-071-0400(6).

(2) The agent may waive inspections for a system proposed to serve a single family dwelling or for a system of similar flow and waste strength if:

  • (a) The system was installed by a sewage disposal service business licensed under ORS 454.695;
  • (b) The installer complies with all requirements of this rule; and
  • (c) Upon request by the agent, the installer submits to the agent photographs of those portions of the construction for which the inspection is waived.

(OAR 340-071-0170)

~Oct 2012 Proposed Rule Change~

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