Can my Septic System use Off-Lot or Off-Site Discharge?
If you need to install a septic system, or replace a failing system, you may wonder, “Can my septic system discharge wastewater off of my lot?”
What is an off-lot septic system?
This is a method of dispersing the effluent (wastewater) from your septic system off of your property, where it will eventually join a stream or lake.
Because effluent that leaves your property will have an impact on the surrounding environment, it is regulated by your local Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Off-lot discharge is possible, but only for certain homeowners under certain conditions:
- You must be granted an EPA or NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit by your local Health Department to be allowed to safely discharge wastewater off of your property.
- You also will need to install an HSTS (Home Sewage Treatment System) that treats the effluent very well. Standard septic tanks cannot be approved to discharge untreated sewage off of your property.
Off-site discharge in an existing home or a new home build
If you are replacing a system in an existing home, you will need to have a design submitted and approved for off-lot discharge, even if your home currently drains off of your property. Rules began to become stricter starting in 2007 and now require an affidavit from your local health department declaring that there is no other option.
If you are building a new home in Ohio and need to install septic, be aware that off-lot permits only apply to properties established (or grandfathered in) before 2007. Any new residential property most likely will not be permitted to discharge wastewater off-lot. Some empty lots have been platted and grandfathered in; check with the county to see if your land qualifies.
How to get an off-site discharge permit in Ohio
Whether you are replacing a septic system in your existing home or building a new home, you will need to start by having a soil analysis completed by a licensed professional in order to have any design completed and approved.
Then, the Health Department will look at a few key considerations in order to grant an off-lot permit, including:
- Lot size: Does adequate space exist?
- Topography: Is it steep or does it have difficult contours?
- Dispersal area: Has the soil been disturbed or used before?
- Soil quality: Is the soil shallow or does it have poor properties?
Shallow soil depths are common in Ohio; however, that reason alone may not be a strong enough argument for an off-lot discharging system. If you cannot get an off-lot permit due to shallow soil, you may be given a couple of options:
- A mound system is one common option. This involves bringing in several feet of special sand and soil and building a treatment mound on a large portion of your property.
- Another option is a drip system which can be an excellent and reasonable cost option to disperse treated effluent onto your property without an unsightly mound. A drip system will require that you connect it to an approved type of treatment system, such as the LandSaver® MBR.
Find the best septic solution for your property
Contact us at Tangent Company if you have questions about discharging septic effluent off site, getting a soils analysis, or designing a septic system that will be approved and be your best option. We know this can be confusing, but can help you!
Our team can link you with a designer and a soils expert. We can also walk you through the permitting process and can help you avoid costly mistakes. If a mound system is recommended for you by a designer or local health department, Tangent can determine if a lower cost and less intrusive drip irrigation system can be installed instead.