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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 610. Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations

12VAC5-610-250. Procedures for obtaining a construction permit for a sewage disposal system.

Construction permits are issued by the commissioner but all requests for a sewage disposal construction permit shall be directed initially to the district or local health department. For construction permits with design flows less than 1,000 gallons per day that are exempt from the license requirements for professional engineers under § 54.1-402 A 11 of the Code of Virginia, the requirement for formal plans and specifications is waived.

A. Type I. A Type I sewage disposal system is an individual sewage disposal system incorporating a septic tank and subsurface soil absorption (septic tank-subsurface drainfield) serving a single residence. The submission of an application is all that is normally necessary to initiate procedure for obtaining a permit under this subsection. If after a site investigation, it is determined that pumping, enhanced flow distribution (see 12VAC5-610-930 A) or low pressure distribution (see 12VAC5-610-940) is necessary, the system shall be considered a Type II system.

B. Type II. A Type II sewage disposal system is a sewage disposal system incorporating a septic tank and subsurface soil absorption system which serves a commercial or other establishment, more than a single family dwelling unit, or where pumping, enhanced flow distribution (see 12VAC5-610-930 A) or low pressure distribution (see 12VAC5-610-940) is necessary. The procedure for obtaining a permit includes the following steps:

1. The submission of an application;

2. A preliminary conference as necessary; and

3. The submission of informal plans, specifications, design criteria, and other data, as may be required by the district or local health department. Depending on the size and complexity of the system, the submission of formal plans and specifications may be required.

C. Type III. A Type III sewage disposal system includes sewage disposal systems other than a septic tank subsurface soil absorption system, and subsurface soil absorption systems, regardless of design, with design flows greater than 1,000 gpd. The procedure for obtaining a permit under this subsection includes the following steps:

1. The submission of an application;

2. A preliminary conference; and

3. The submission of formal plans, specifications, and design criteria. Other supporting data may be required on a case-by-case basis.

When high strength wastes are proposed for subsurface disposal, the treatment methodology shall comply with the requirements found in 12VAC5-580-10 et seq. of the Sewage Regulations.

D. Type IV-Privies. The submission of an application is all that is normally necessary to initiate the procedure for obtaining a permit under this section.

E. Application. All applications for any type sewage disposal system shall be made on an application form provided by the district or local health department and approved by the department.

F. Preliminary conference. A preliminary conference with the district or local health department is held for Type II and Type III systems. When a Type III system for septage disposal is planned, the conference shall be with the department. At such conference the owner or his agent shall be prepared to set forth the sewage disposal problems and the proposed solution in such a manner to support his conclusions and recommendations.

G. Formal plans.

1. All formal plans for sewage disposal systems shall bear a suitable title showing the name of the owner and shall show the scale in feet, a graphical scale, the north point, date, and the name of the licensed professional engineer by or under whom prepared. The cover sheet and each plan sheet shall bear the same general title identifying the overall sewage disposal project and each shall be numbered. Appropriate subtitles should be included on the individual sheets.

The plans shall be clear and legible. They shall be drawn to a scale which will permit all necessary information to be plainly shown. The size of the plans should be no larger than 30 inches by 48 inches. Data used should be indicated. Location, when made, shall be shown on the plans. Logs of test borings shall be given either on plans or in the specifications.

Detailed plans shall consist of plan views, elevations, sections, and supplementary views that together with the specifications and general layouts provide the working information for the contract and construction of the work, including dimensions and relative elevations of structures, the location and outline form of equipment, the location and size of piping, water levels, ground elevations, and erosion control abatement facilities.

2. Geographical and other features. Topography, elevations (contour lines), existing or proposed streets and all bodies of water, ditches, buildings, springs, cisterns, and wells within 100 feet horizontally of the proposed sewage disposal system site and well, a water mounding analysis showing the impact of the proposed sewage system on ground water and all property lines shall be clearly shown.

3. General layout. The general layout shall show the following:

a. Test borings, ground water elevation (if observed), and soil profiles;

b. Size and location of sewage disposal systems;

c. Schematic flow diagram showing the flow through the various disposal system units;

d. Piping; and

e. Hydraulic profile showing the flow of sewage.

4. Detailed plans. Detailed plans shall show the following:

a. Location, dimensions, and elevations of existing or proposed system facilities;

b. Pertinent data concerning the rated capacity of pumps, blowers, motors, and other mechanical devices. All or part of such data may be included in the specifications by suitable reference on the plans;

c. Average and maximum hydraulic flow in profile; and

d. Adequate description of any features not otherwise covered by the specifications.

H. Formal specifications. Complete technical specifications for the construction of the sewage disposal system and all appurtenances shall accompany the plans. The specifications accompanying construction drawings shall include all construction information not shown on the drawings, which is necessary to inform the builder in detail of the design requirements as to the quality of material workmanship and fabrication of the project, type, size, strength, operating characteristics, and rating of equipment; allowable infiltration, machinery, valves, piping, and jointing of pipe, electrical apparatus, wiring and meters; operating tools and construction materials; special filter materials such as stone, sand, gravel, or slag; miscellaneous appurtenances; chemicals when used; instructions for testing materials and equipment as necessary to meet design standards and operating test for the complete works and component units.

I. Special requirements for certain sewage disposal systems. A construction permit for a single sewage disposal system proposed to serve a dwelling unit with multiple living units, multiple dwelling units or multiple lots with dwelling units shall be issued only to a single owner. The owner shall provide legal documentation to assure operation and the maintenance of the system for the expected life of the living units or dwellings.

J. Construction permit with conditions.

1. Definition: "Conditional construction permit" means a permit authorizing the installation of a septic tank subsurface soil absorption system which does not fully conform to the criteria in Part V (12VAC5-610-660 et seq.) of this chapter pertaining to septic tank size, subsurface soil absorption system size and certain ground water table conditions as indicated by soil evaluation, but which, under the conditions to which the permit is subject, can be reasonably expected to function without danger to public health.

2. The purpose of this section is to allow for the issuance of conditional construction permits. Procedures for obtaining a conditional construction permit are the same as those contained in subsections A, B, C, and D of this section.

3. Conditional construction permits may be issued for any one or more of the following use conditions when satisfactory substantiation is provided by the applicant:

a. Reduced water flow based on permanent water saving plumbing devices;

b. Limitations on the number of persons occupying the dwelling or using the facility served by the proposed septic tank system;

c. Intermittent or seasonal use of the dwelling or facility served by the septic tank system; and

d. Temporary use of the septic tank system for a specified time period not to exceed one year. Such permits may be renewable when the commissioner determines there is a good cause for renewal.

4. Criteria.

a. The septic tank or drainfield size may be reduced based on the use conditions contained in subdivision 3 a, b, c, or d of this subsection.

b. In areas with seasonal fluctuating water tables, where the seasonally high water table would cause failure if the system were to be used continuously, septic tank systems may be installed when the period of use of the septic tank system coincides with the period when the ground water table, as indicated by free water, is at its lowest level. Acceptable separation distances to free standing ground water are the same as those found in Tables 4.3 and 4.4 of this chapter.

c. Because of the increased risk of failure, a conditional permit shall not be issued, in an area with a seasonally fluctuating water table if the proposed absorption area is within 200 feet of a shellfish growing area, recreational waters, or a public water supply impoundment.

5. The district or local health department shall affix to the conditional construction permit a clear and concise statement relating the conditions and circumstances that formed the basis for issuing the conditional permit as well as the owner's obligations under the permit.

6. The holder of any conditional construction permit shall have the permit recorded and indexed in the grantor index under the holder's name in the land records of the clerk of the circuit court having jurisdiction over the site of the septic tank system. District or local health departments shall be provided with certification that the conditional septic tank system permit has been recorded in the land records of the circuit court. The conditional permit shall become effective one day after the district or local health department receives notification of recordation. The district or local health department shall advise the local building official that conditional septic tank system permits are not valid without certification that the permits have been properly recorded as required and shall forthwith notify the local building official when the conditional permit becomes effective. Final approval of the construction of the septic tank subsurface soil absorption system shall not be given until or unless the system is constructed in accordance with the conditions of the permit. The operation permit will be issued in accordance with 12VAC5-610-340.

7. As per § 32.1-164.1 of the Code of Virginia, the holder of the permit and any subsequent holders of the permit shall be bound by the conditions stated in the permit unless the holder or subsequent holder obtains an additional permit for modification or alteration of the septic tank system to meet any new use conditions.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-164 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 2.13, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988; Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 16, eff. July 1, 2000; Volume 39, Issue 4, eff. November 24, 2022.

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