What Are Some of the EPA's Septic System Regulations?


Quick Answer

The EPA’s septic system regulations are that owners of systems must submit basic inventory information and that the system cannot endanger underground sources of drinking water, explains the agency. The EPA’s primary drinking water regulation prohibits any movement of fluid containing contaminants to a drinking water source.

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Full Answer

The point of compliance for septic systems is determined case by case. The EPA provides guidance and technical assistance to help states and local governments develop on-site programs that regulate septic systems. People who install septic systems obtain operating permits from local health departments after local agencies conduct on-site assessments to determine if groundwater resources could be threatened by the septic system and if the available soil can provide adequate treatment. The agencies assess property lines, surface water and appropriate distances from facilities, according to the EPA.

Health departments determine the system’s risk of threatening drinking water sources based on wastewater characteristics, system design and soil. Pathogens, solvents and heavy metals are common contaminants that septic systems must not move toward a drinking water source. As septic tank waste moves through the soil below the drain field, the dissolved matter diminishes. Regular maintenance of septic systems is necessary to prevent drinking water contamination, notes the EPA.

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