Tuesday, 08 December 2015 02:21

Septic System Information

If you're thinking of inspecting your own sewage treatment system (STS) starting in 2020 it's a good idea to do your homework on how your STS should be functioning. 
COMING SOON we will have information on each of the following sewage treatment systems and some common issues users of each of these systems experience.

In the meantime, take a look at the OSU extension office's septic system maintenance page here.

Treatment and Pretreatment Types

Septic Tanks

Septic tanks help keep solid waste from clogging the rest of the system. When maintained correctly, solid waste will sink to the bottom of the tank allowing the rest of the sewage to move on the the next part of treatment. Septic tanks have evolved over the years to have more ways to keep solids from causing damage to the septic system.  In the pictures below you will see a cross section of a septic tank. You'll see the sludge layer (solids) at the bottom and a scum layer (Oils and other fluids lighter then water) at the top. It is important to regularly pump out your septic tank in order to make sure that sludge and scum layers don't build up and cause irreversible damage to the system.

How often you should pump your tank is different for each system. It depends on how many people live in your home and the size of your septic tank.Below is table created by The Ohio State University that determines how often you should get your tank pumped based on those two factors.

  

Table 1. Estimated septic tank pumping frequency (in years) for different size tanks for 1 to 9 people in a household of year-round residence.
Note: If a garbage disposal is used, more frequent pumping is required. 
Tank Size
(in gallons)
Number of People
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
500 5.8 2.6 1.5 1 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1
750 9.1 4.2 2.6 1.8 1.3 1 0.7 0.6 0.4
1,000 12.4 5.9 3.7 2.6 2.0 1.5 1.2 1 0.8
1,500 18.9 9.1 5.9 4.2 3.3 2.6 2.1 1.8 1.5
2,000 25.4 12.4 8 5.9 4.5 3.7 3.1 2.6 2.2
2,500 31.9 15.6 10.2 7.5 5.9 4.8 4.4 4 3.0

Leach Field

One of the most common treatment types is a leach field. Leach fields start with a diversion box which diverts sewage into several long leach lines that allow sewage to trickle through the ground water without discharging to the surface. It relies on the microbes naturally present in the soil to clean the sewage before it is reused. Leach fields usually rely completely on gravity to move sewage along to long leach lines that allow the sewage to "leach" into the soil. Sometimes due to higher elevations a electrical pump is needed to get sewage to the leach field.

Common issues with leach fields occur when septic tanks are not pumped regularly and solids are allowed into the leach field. The solids clog the lines and don't allow sewage to leach out and be cleaned naturally. Depending on where the clog is, sewage can surface up into your yard or back into your home causing human and environmental health hazards. In order to make sure clogs don't occur in your leach field, you should pump the septic tank out regularly according to the chart above and switch the elbow in the diversion box at least every 6 months. Additionally, avoid parking cars, building anything or in anyway compacting the leach field. 

Subsurface Sand Filter

Mound 

Drip

Aerator

 Please see our Aerator Systems page.

EPA Grant Information

Union County Health Department was awarded a grant to fix and replace failing septic systems in Union County. If you know you have a problem with your system but do not have the funds to fix it, contact Holly Rast for information on how to apply!

Holly J. Rast
(937) 645-2043
holly.rast@uchd.net

Published in Water & Sewage
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 02:20

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Program

 

Initial Assessments ~ Assement Phase-in Schedule ~ O&M Permits ~ O&M Inspections
Inspection Options  ~ EPA Grant Information ~ O&M Staff Profiles  ~  FAQ's 
HOW TO GET A COPY OF YOUR ASSESSMENT REPORT 
   

 

NEW 2015 Sewage Rules!

Ohio Administrative Code: Chapter 3701-29

icon OAC-3701-29 UCHD Sewage Rules Supplement

In January of 2015, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) adopted new private sewage laws (Ohio Administrative Code: Chapter 3701-29). These new laws mandate every private septic system also known as a sewage treatment system (STS) have an operation permit and to be monitored on a regular basis. This will ensure STS are working correctly and not polluting the environment. 

In Union County over 9,000 homes and businesses use STS to treat wastewater. Because of the large number of systems, initial assessments will be completed by township with only approximately 3 townships per year being added onto the O&M program starting in 2016. Below is the current schedule the Environmental Health Division has made for the 2016-2019 implementation of the countywide O&M program. (this schedule is subject to change)

 

 

Assessment Phase in Schedule

 2016-17: Claiborne, Leesburg, Taylor

 2017-18: Jackson, Washington, York, Liberty

 2018: Darby, Dover, Jerome, Millcreek

 2019: Allen, Union, Paris

Phase in by townships
*Phase in is by township. Years are subject to change.

Top of Page 

 

Initial Assessments

The Union County Health Department will be conducting initial assessments to determine the type of private septic system at each home or business. There is no cost for this initial assessment. These assessments will consist of records reviews and/or on-site inspections. If the health deapartment has sufficient records on file your private septic system  may not receive an initial assessment in person.

Initial assessments will be completed by township from 2016 through 2019, with approximately three townships per year being assessed. You can see the current map above although this is subject to change if needed. After your initial assessment has been done and the private septic system type has been determined, your private septic system will be officially added to the Board of Health’s Operation and Maintenance (O&M) program. Claibourne, Leesburg and Taylor Townships are the townships slated for review in 2016. 

While you are not required to be present, our inspectors always welcome questions and are happy to talk with you about your system. Health Department inspectors will typically visit during normal business hours and can be identified by any of the following:

1. Clothing or safety vest with the agency logo;

2. A vehicle marked with the agency’s logo;

3. An agency ID badge;

4. Agency letter/ paperwork identifying their purpose

You are always encouraged to contact our department if there is any concern at (937) 642-2053

To start the visit, the inspector will knock on the door. If no one answers, they will walk the accessible areas of the property to assess all components of the septic system. They will NOT enter any house, building or storage facility; the assessment is all outside.

After completing the assessment, a report and contact information will be available for the property owner. If for some reason you do not receive your report, a copy will be kept on file and can be emailed or mailed if needed. The property owner is encouraged to contact us with any questions.

How to receive a copy of your assessment report

If you live in Claibourne, Leesburg, or Taylor townships you may have already received a notice on your door stating that an assessment has been completed. To receive a copy of this assessment please send an email with your address to EHcontact@uchd.net. Someone from our office will reply with a copy of your assessment report. You should receive a copy of your report with 1-2 business days.

If you did not receive a notice but your neighbors did you may have received a desk audit meaning we have all the information we need to complete your assessment from our office. You can receive a copy of your report by following the instructions above.

If you live in a township other than Claibourne, Leesburg or Taylor you will be assessed during the years stated above. (click here to see a map)  However, if we visit your property for another reason (water sampling, nuisance complaint etc) we may complete your initial assessment at that time. 

Top of Page 

 

O&M Permits

O&M Permits are REQUIRED under the state sewage laws. Initial O&M permits will be sent to septic system owners in November of 2016 for the prorated 2017-2019 Operation Permit.  At the end of 2016 every septic system owner will be billed for a prorated permit in the amount of $30 ($10 per permit year). You will receive this bill in the mail with more information on when and how you can pay for your permit. 

 After the phase-in process, permits will be renewed in every year ending in a 0 or 5 (i.e. 2020, 2025...) and you will receive that renewal application in the mail the fall before the renewal is required.

For example: In the fall of 2019, every septic system owner will receive a renewal bill for their 2020-2024 permit.  Then in the fall of 2024 they will receive their next renewal bill for the 2025-2029 O&M permit.

 Top of Page

 

O&M Inspections

Starting in 2020, every septic system needs to be inspected on a regular basis which varies depending on the type of system you own. The table below shows the types of systems by category and how often they will be inspected. 

 

Table 1. Inspection Requirements.

The following are the inspection cycles for the various types of Sewage Treatment System (STS).

Frequency Group

(in order of risk, highest to lowest)

Requirement

A. Aerators, discharging systems, NPDES, etc.

Regular Aerators

NPDES Aerators

Drip Distribution Systems

Aerator to Leach

Aerator to Mound

Aerator to SSSF

Aerator to Peat/Sphagnum Moss Filter

Aerator to any other STS

Unknown STS (until confirmed as something specific)

Annual Inspection

(5x per 5 years of the permit and no more than one accepted annually)

B1. Septic Tank (ST) to filter beds, lift stations, etc.

ST to SSSF (Discharging)

ST to Mound

ST to SB2

ST to Peat/Sphagnum Moss Filter (Discharging)

ST to Lift Station to Mound

ST to Filter Bed (Discharging)

ST to Lift Station to Leach

Lift Station to any other STS

B2. Septic Tank (ST) to holding tanks, filter beds, etc.

Holding Tanks

ST to Filter Bed (Non Discharging)

STS with sump pumps in the perimeter drain

Two Inspections per Permit Cycle

(2x per 5 years of the permit but no more than one accepted annually)

C. Septic Tank to leach field

One inspection per Permit Cycle

(1x per 5 years)

 

Inspection Options

After your initial assessment, you can choose from the three options below for who will complete ongoing inspectons for your system.

  1. Registered Service Provider
  2. Union County Health Department
  3. Registered Property Owner 

1. Registered Service Providers

Union County Health Department (UCHD) has a list of service providers that are registered to perform inspections on septic systems. Each service provider charges a fee for the assessment which varies depending on the service provider. The service provider will submit the inspection paperwork to UCHD (both the homeowner and service provider have an equal responsibility to submit all necessary paperwork to UCHD). Please note all inspection documentation must be submitted within one month to UCHD and any work performed on the STS must be reported to UCHD within 3 months.

The advantage to having a registered service provider assess your septic system is most service providers are able to perform maintenance on your system whereas UCHD will not. A full list of registered service providers can be found here: Registered Service Providers. Some registered service providers only perform inspections and will not be able to fix your system if they find something wrong.  If you think you might need service done to your system, be sure to ask if the registered service provider if they will be able to perform service or if they just assess the system.

icon Registered Service Providers

2. Union County Health Department

Your second option for your O&M inspection would be the Union County Health Department. If there is a problem after inspecting your septic system, UCHD will suggest measures to take to make sure it is working correctly. If you choose to have UCHD perform your inspection, the current fee can be found in the Envionmental Fee Schedule under catergory IV (Sewage Treatment Systems) Section D (Operation and Maintenance Assessments) Line 1 (HSTS Inspection).

**UCHD will NOT perform any repairs to your septic system.

3. Registered Property Owner (primary residence only)

A third option: STARTING IN 2020, you can perform inspections on the Sewage Treatment System (STS) of your primary residence if you own the property. There is a process you must go through in order to become a registered service provider with the Union County Health Department.

1) First, You'll need to take and pass a service provider test.
The test is offered for free online. After passing the test you must submit a certificate of completion to UCHD.

2) Along with your test certificate you must submit your application for registration to UCHD.
Registration fees and bonding requirements have been waived for individuals only performing service on their primary residence. UCHD will processes your application.

3) In order to process your application you must receive education on your septic system type. Set up an appointment with one of our sanitarians to receive education regarding proper maintenance to your system. 

Finally you will receive notification that your application has been approved and you are a registered service provider. You may now perform service and inspections on your STS. Homeowner registration is required every year in which you will be inspecting your system.  After inspecting your system, submit assessment details via your assessment report to UCHD. Any work performed on the STS must be reported to UCHD within 3 months. You can follow this link to learn more about the testing process.

icon Service Provider Application

Regardless of your service provider, please contact UCHD before any system changes are made (not including equipment repairs). 

Jim Cogar, RS
Phone: (937) 645-2041
Email: jim.cogar@uchd.net
Holly J. Rast, RS
Phone: (937) 645-2043
Email: holly.rast@uchd.net

 Top of Page

 

 

Click here for a brochure of information 
regarding the O&M Program

 

icon O&M Brochure 

 

 

EPA Grant Information

This grant will be awarded to households at 50%, 85%, and 100% of the total cost of replacing your septic system. The amount you qualify for is based on household income level. Click here to learn about the income levels eligble for grant money.  If you know you have a problem with your system but do not have the funds to fix it, contact Holly Rast or Allison Zandarski for information on how to apply for this grant money! 

Holly Rast                                                   Allison Zandarski
(937) 645-2043                                          (937) 645-2028
holly.rast@uchd.net                                   allison.zandarski@uchd.net

 icon EPA Grant

Top of Page

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Is my system grandfathered in, making me exempt from the O&M program?

No. Every septic system in Union County will be in the O&M program by 2020. The O&M program will allow UCHD to pinpoint environmental hazards and stop them from polluting our environment.  For this reason, along with the 2015 state-wide sewage rules mandating the O&M program, no system is exempt.

2. If my system is found to be broken during my assessment, will I have to replace my entire septic system?

Not necessarily.  UCHD is prepared to work with you to salvage every system that needs repairs to work properly.  Expensive repairs and replacements are last resorts and will be avoided at all cost. However, we are looking to prevent and eliminate environmental pollution. Septic systems that are failing and pose immediate harm to human health and the environment, will need to be addressed quickly.

3. When do I need to pay for my 2017-2019 O&M permit and how do I pay for it?

You will receive a bill in the mail in the fall of 2016 for your 2017-2019 permit. The bill will detail when your fee is due. You can pay by mail with a check or in our offices with a check, credit card, or cash.

4. How often will I be inspected?

How often you are inspected depends on the type of system you have. Click here to see the table of system types and how often each needs to be inspected during the 5 year permit.

5. Can I do my own O&M inspections?

Yes. However, you can only perform inspections on your primary residence and you must own the property. Renters may not perform inspections. You can learn more information about conducting your own inspections here.

6. If I buy a home will I have to purchase a new operation permit or will the current permit transfer?

The operation permit is connected to your septic system and stays with the septic system if you choose to move. If you buy a home that has an operation permit, you will not have to buy a new permit but will need to renew it every 5 years. Operation permits are renewed in years ending in 0 or 5, i.e. 2020, 2025.

7. What should I expect if I have an aerator that is on the current O&M Program?

 You will be permited at the end of 2016 like all the other systems in Union County. This permit will cost $30. Beginning in 2017 you will be immediately transferred to the new O&M program and will continue to be inspected every year. If you choose to have UCHD inspect your system, the cost can be found here. You can learn more about other inspection options here

8. How to receive a copy of my initial assessment report?

Send an email with the address of the property you are requesting the report of to EHcontact@uchd.net. Someone from our office will reply with a copy of your assessment report. You should receive a copy of your report within 1-2 business days. 

9. How do I prepare for my initial assessment?

Your assessment will tell you the type of system you have and if you need to perform maintenance on the system. However, having some things done before hand can help your inspector determine system type and ensure that the system is working correctly.
-If you haven't in the last 5 years, you should have your septic tank pumped. Click here for a list of our registered sewage haulers.
-While not required, installing risers and lids on your system will allow your inspector to get a better look at your system and verify its physical and working condition (click here for a list of installers). If your system type or location cannot be identified during your assessment you will be placed in the most frequently inspected system type category and be inspected every year. (click here to see table) If you believe you have been placed in a different category than you should be please contact our office with your address and corrected system type at EHcontact@uchd.net
-Lastly, it is helpful to verify all the plumbing that goes to your septic system. Washing machines, toilets, and sink drains are all examples of what should be draining to your septic system. Sump pumps and water softeners are things that should NOT drain to your septic tank.  

icon Registered Sewage Installers 

icon Registered Sewage Haulers

Top of Page

 

Meet Our Sanitarians and Environmental Health Staff!

These are some of our staff that may be visiting your home for O&M assessments and inspections. Click on their pictures to learn more about them!

Paul Ithenya

Holly Rast

Adam Schultz

 

Jim Cogar

Zach Colles

Allison Zandarski

Melissa Henry

Vic Olsewski

 

Marcia Dreiseidel

 

 Top of Page

 

Published in Water & Sewage