Please see the Pumping the Septic Tank page on our website.
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System failures (usually called 'malfunctions') will usually involve a discharge of wastewater of the surface of the ground. This liquid will be very odorous and is usually black or gray in color and should appear over the area of the absorption bed. Flies may be present. In the winter, this is sometimes seen as a discolored slick of ice on the ground. If you call the health department, we can look at this to try and determine its source.
Yes. However, you should be very familiar with the operation of the heavy equipment need to install the system under challenging site conditions. You must also demonstrate your knowledge of the on-site wastewater treatment system regulations to the satisfaction of the health department inspector. You will be responsible for complying with all applicable requirements of the regulations and engineering design, including assurance that all required inspections are scheduled with, and performed by, this department. All terms and conditions of the permit must also be complied with and you must submit an Affidavit to the health department.
Yes, we have a list of registered professional engineers (PDF) who have done work with the Department in the past; however, the department does not recommend any particular engineering firm.
You will need to obtain an engineered design from a registered professional engineer and then submit an application for a permit. Normally, it will take 14 working days to process your application.
Depending on when your system was installed, these records may be on file with the health department. We can look up these records using the street address or legal description of the property. In general, records exist for most systems installed or repaired after 1965. These records will usually consist of an "as-built" drawing of the system, the original application form and engineering design.
Many of the records have been scanned or microfilmed and can easily be sent to you electronically. To request records, call 303-271-5756 and provide the address and legal description of the property in question. Responses to requests usually take 2 business days.
It depends on the zoning of the area and when the lot was created or subdivided.
We investigate failing systems on a complaint basis; we will need the street address of the site in order to do so. Complaints may remain anonymous when reporting possible failures. Should a malfunction be confirmed, the property owner will be required to make the appropriate and necessary repairs. Report a Public Health problem.
For a new system, repair of an existing system or addition to a system, the fee is $1,023. For a tank replacement only, the fee is $523 and the fee for a renewal is $250. Credit cards are now accepted for a nominal service fee (1.75%).
First, determine whether you actually need a variance by discussing it with us. Variances are generally required only for building sites that do not meet the minimum lot size. If you do, you would need to apply for the variance by submitting engineering design, a hardship statement, and other required information. The Board of Health meets on the third Tuesday of every month and each meeting date is the deadline for submitting requests for the next months meeting (e.g., March 17 is the deadline for the April 21 meeting).
An additional hearing fee of $125 is charged for a variance request. Hearings are held the third Tuesday of every month in Hearing Room 2 in the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility, commencing at 8 a.m.
Applications for systems serving business or commercial structures are processed by staff without a hearing. The engineering design for the system must be based on the flow and specific characteristics of the wastewater to be generated. For example, systems which serve facilities such as restaurants will usually require additional wastewater treatment as the wastewater is considered "high strength."
A Higher Level Treatment system is one that uses mechanical means to provide additional treatment, wither by trickling the wastewater over a filter or by introducing air into the wastewater. These systems are typically required on small lots and in environmentally sensitive areas. Due to the need for ongoing maintenance, an Operating Permit is usually required. For more information on individual sewage disposal systems, call 303-271-5759.
Due to the challenging conditions in many areas, only registered professional engineers can design septic systems to be installed in Jefferson County. They will evaluate the site, perform a series of soil tests, and prepare a design that meets the specific characteristics of your site. This soil investigation and design can cost several thousand dollars to complete.