Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
10/27/2021

Article 5. Subsurface Soil Absorption System

12VAC5-610-600. General.

Article 5
Installation of Residential Sewage Disposal Systems in Political Subdivisions Having Soil Drainage Management Contracts with the State Health Department

It is the policy of the department to grant sewage disposal system permits for private residential systems utilizing subsurface soil absorption whenever such permits can be granted without endangering public health. Many soils are limited in their ability to accept sewage by high seasonal water tables. Some soils can accept sewage when an adequate local plan for soil drainage exists. When a political subdivision enters into a Soil Drainage Management Contract with the department and subsequently develops Soil Drainage Management Plan(s) in an area in which soils respond to artificial drainage and the plan is acceptable to the department, the department will consider the approval of subsurface soil absorption systems in soils that were previously unacceptable because of high seasonal water tables.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 3.16, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988.

12VAC5-610-610. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this article, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

"Soil Drainage Management Contract (SDMC)" means a contract between the department and the political subdivision for the development, operation, maintenance, and enforcement of all soil drainage management plans within the political subdivision.

"Soil Drainage Management Plan (SDMP)" means a plan approved by the commissioner, pursuant to 12VAC5-610-630 below, meeting the criteria set forth in 12VAC5-610-640 below.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 3.17, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988.

12VAC5-610-620. Applicability.

This article shall be applicable only in those political subdivisions which enter into Soil Drainage Management Contracts with the department.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 3.18, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988; Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 16, eff. July 1, 2000.

12VAC5-610-630. Procedures for entry into or withdrawal from a Soil Drainage Management Contract (SDMC).

A. Entry.

1. Any political subdivision in the Commonwealth may at any time apply to the department through the district or local health department for entry into an SDMC with the department. The application shall contain the following minimum elements:

a. A proposed contract between the department and the political subdivision; and

b. Drafts of all ordinances, required easements, or other legal documents which the political subdivision proposes to adopt as a portion of the SDMC including a local ordinance requiring the holder of a sewage disposal construction permit issued in conjunction with the SDMC to have the permit recorded in the land records of the circuit court having jurisdiction.

2. The department shall, within 60 days of the submission of an application for entry into an SDMC, evaluate the application and propose to the political subdivision any suggestions for modification to the SDMC.

3. The political subdivision may review the department's suggested modifications and resubmit a revised application within such time as the political subdivision elects.

4. The department shall accept or reject entry into an SDMC within 90 days of receipt of the final application from a political subdivision.

5. Upon rejection by the department of a final application for entry into an SDMC, the political subdivision may appeal the department's decision to the appropriate circuit court. The Virginia Administrative Process Act, § 9-6.14:1, et seq., shall apply to such an appeal.

B. Withdrawal.

1. If the department determines that a political subdivision is failing to abide by the terms set forth in its SDMC with the department, the department may withdraw from the contract.

2. The department shall, within 60 calendar days of its proposed withdrawal from an SDMC notify the political subdivision of the department's intent.

3. The political subdivision may apply to the department for a hearing upon the proposed withdrawal. Such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions governing case decisions contained within the Virginia Administrative Process Act.

4. Within 30 calendar days after such hearing, the department shall notify the political subdivision whether the department will withdraw from the SDMC.

5. A decision by the department to withdraw from an SDMC may be appealed to the appropriate circuit court pursuant to the provisions of the Virginia Administrative Process Act.

6. If withdrawal occurs, continued maintenance of all SDMP's shall be the responsibility of the political subdivision in areas where permits were issued in accordance with this chapter.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 3.19, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988.

12VAC5-610-640. Minimum standards for Soil Drainage Management Plans.

A. Every SDMP offered in conjunction with a SDMC shall meet the following minimum standards for surface and groundwater management.

B. The SDMP shall provide for:

1. Positive surface grading in the area of a dwelling and subsurface soil absorption area at a minimum of 0.5%;

2. Drainage ditches for diverting surface water and for lowering the seasonal groundwater table which shall:

a. Completely surround the subsurface soil absorption system;

b. Have a minimum grade of 0.2%;

c. Be located 70 feet, ±10 feet from the drainfield; and

d. Have the invert of the ditch placed in a Group I, II or III soil at an elevation so that the normal water surface in the ditch is at least six inches below the invert of the trench of the subsurface soil absorption system;

3. A French drain on one side in lieu of an open drainage ditch on one of the four sides;

4. Diversion ditches or swales shall be:

a. Required where adjacent property is equal to or higher in elevation than the proposed site and the adjacent property may be expected to discharge water onto the proposed site;

b. Designed to meet such site specific individual requirements as the department determines to be necessary;

5. A receiving stormwater and groundwater drainage system which is adequate in capacity so that waters from a proposed site shall be conveyed to it in accordance with the political subdivision's criteria;

6. Diversion ditches, where required, or other ditches to transport stormwater and/or groundwater from a site to a receiving body in accordance with the political subdivision's criteria;

7. Ditches to remain open and not be piped and covered unless approved by appropriate local government official, such approval to be granted only with the concurrence of the department;

8. Only appurtenances to the subsurface soil absorption system shall be constructed within the confines of the perimeter ditches required in paragraph B 2 a, above, except where a French drain is provided on one side; and

9. Lots which shall be a minimum of three acres in size not including swamps or marshland.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 3.20, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988.

12VAC5-610-650. Department procedures relating to subsurface soil absorption system applications in SDMC counties and cities.

A. All applications for subsurface soil absorption systems will be evaluated based on the criteria contained in this part. When the site is limited only by a high seasonal water table and/or surface runoff, the department shall require that a satisfactory SDMP be in place and functioning satisfactorily before issuance of a construction permit. Typed on the construction permit will be the following statement which shall be signed by the applicant:

I understand that this soil has severe limitations for the disposal of septic effluent. With the aforementioned drainage measures the health department expects reasonable serviceability, however, it may malfunction during extreme conditions.

I understand and acknowledge the above and agree to install and maintain the drainage measures.

Signed

Date

B. Soils to be considered shall demonstrate their ability to be artificially drained and shall fall generally into Texture Group I, II, or III.

C. The SDMP and site specific drainage system or systems shall be certified, supervised, maintained, and prepared by or under the direct supervision of a professional engineer licensed in Virginia who is a full-time employee of the political subdivision. In addition, the political subdivision shall have the manpower or other capability to maintain the applicable conditions of the SDMP. This certification shall become a part of the subsurface soil absorption system permit.

D. Proper easements shall be provided for drainage to assure access for proper maintenance.

E. Political subdivisions shall assure proper installation and maintenance of the stormwater and ground water drainage system or systems.

F. The department retains the right to reject any SDMP if in the opinion of the department the SDMP proposed will result in a nuisance or health hazard condition.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 3.21, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988; Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 16, eff. July 1, 2000.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.