As of January 1, 2004, prior to the sale of a dwelling or structure (including commercial structures) served by an individual sewage disposal system, the owner must have in his possession a use permit issued by the Public Health Department.
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Yes. A dwelling or structure that was first occupied (as determined by the date of the warranty deed transferring ownership from the developer or builder to the original homeowner) less than five years before the closing date does not require a use permit, provided the existing system was not used for a previous dwelling on the site.
Probably, but there isn't any consistently applied inspection criteria. In addition, there are no mandatory requirements for certification of inspectors. Previously, anyone who wanted to call themselves an inspector could do so and use whichever criteria they deemed appropriate to make their inspection.
Yes, although it may not provide as accurate a picture of the operational suitability of the septic system. If a property is vacant, that condition will be noted on the permit.
No, the use permit is specifically limited to the on-site wastewater treatment system only. Regulations do not require the inspection of the well or approval of the water quantity or quality. However, the department recommends that the production and capacity of the well and the quality of the water be checked to ensure the well is an adequate and safe source of water. See our Drinking Water Well page for additional information.
If the sale has closed, there is no need to renew the use permit. However, if the closing will not occur before the use permit expiration date, complete and submit Form 704 for one six-month renewal. This must be done before the use permit expiration date. Subsequent renewals cannot be approved and a new inspection and application will be required.
Before a real estate closing, the property owner (or other responsible party) obtains the services of an approved inspector to perform an inspection of the on-site wastewater treatment system as well as to pump and inspect the septic tank. The health department will then review the inspection and issue the permit.
A use permit is valid until the date of the real estate closing; or six months have elapsed, whichever comes first. Once the real estate transaction has been completed, the use permit does not need to be renewed.
We ask that the application be submitted no less than 10 working days before the scheduled closing date. We are in the process of developing an online application process that should speed things up considerably.
The inspectors set their own fees. We estimate it will take about one hour to perform the work (not including the tank pumping). Since all inspectors must use the same forms and criteria, be sure to compare prices.
Failure to obtain a use permit may subject the owner who sold the property to a penalty as assessed under the provisions of Colorado state law. The purchaser is not subject to this penalty.
Not necessarily. If the prospective buyer signs a written agreement (PDF) to repair or upgrade the failing component(s) of the system within 30 days of occupying the structure, the department will waive the requirement for a use permit.
No, you may obtain a use permit before having a purchase contract for the property. Exceptions are those properties with failing systems and properties with outhouses or privies.
In many cases, the inspector will file all of the forms for you. If not, complete Form 700 (PDF) and submit all the inspection reports and the application fee to the department, either in person or by mail. Although septic tank inspection Form 702 (PDF) is good for 12 months, Form 701 (PDF) and Form 703 (PDF) must be filed within 30 days after they are prepared.
See our document for transactions that are not subject to use permit requirements (PDF) and for an explanation of the circumstances where use permits are not required.
A use permit is not required for these sales; however, an inspection of the existing system will be required before obtaining permits to rebuild the dwelling or structure in the future.
Certain systems cannot be approved, including:
The inspection covers a number of aspects that relate to both the structural integrity of all systems components, site conditions and operational status of the system. To be approved, an on-site wastewater treatment system must have:
There are three basic standardized forms:
Even under those conditions it should be possible to perform a reasonably thorough inspection; however, the presence of snow cover will be noted on the permit as a limiting inspection condition.
Since the written inspection criteria are very specific, that isn't likely; however, if it becomes apparent that an inspector is doing a poor job, the department will report that information to the organization that issued the inspector's credential (or the state licensing board, if the inspector is a professional engineer) for disciplinary action. If the system is failing, the current owner will be required to fix it.
If available, we will report the original design parameters of the system in terms of number of bedrooms the system was designed for and the total treatment capacity in gallons per day. We will also report the date of installation, permit and file numbers, if any.
The Board of Health has adopted a nonrefundable fee of $100.
If the system lacks a septic tank, that component can be added. Otherwise, the system must be repaired or upgraded to meet the current minimum regulatory standards insofar as possible. An engineering report detailing the proposed repair must be submitted along with an application for a repair permit. The department's fee for repair permits is currently $1,023, or $523 for addition or replacement of a septic tank.
Either Linda Jones at 303-271-5756 or Craig Sanders at 303-271-5759 will be happy to answer your questions.
The Board of Health was concerned that on-site wastewater treatment systems were not always being properly inspected and that failing or marginal systems were being passed along to unsuspecting buyers; therefore, the requirement for a time-of-sale inspection for on-site wastewater treatment systems was adopted in the July 4, 2003, regulation revision and appears in the current regulation in Section 10.
Dwellings with pit privies cannot be occupied full-time; however, these dwellings are acceptable for "limited occupancy," which the regulations define as the occupancy of a structure or dwelling as a residence on less than a full-time, year round basis, i.e. no more than 90 consecutive days or a total occupancy of 120 days per year. To sell such a dwelling, a Limited Occupancy Use Permit can be issued after a prospective purchaser has been identified, and that purchaser signs an agreement acknowledging and agreeing to the above occupancy restrictions. This will allow the transfers of weekend, hunting and fishing cabins, etc., even though they are served by privies. The agreement authorizing Limited Occupancy will be recorded with the Jefferson County Recorder and will appear in any subsequent title search.
No. The department will only report the information we have in the file. Of course, it would be best if the house, as advertised, matched the On-site Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) as installed. Ultimately, the buyer and seller will have the opportunity to decide what, if any, changes need to be made.