Environmental Health Services

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Onsite Sewage and Water Services Programs

News of Interest:

House Bill 887 and 888: Changes to the Onsite Sewage and Water Programs effective July 1, 2018

HB 887 Changes:

The Rappahannock Rapidan Health District (RRHD) receives numerous types of requests for onsite sewage system construction permits. Owners of existing onsite systems may contact a licensed service provider to evaluate their onsite system for a number of reasons, for example after amalfunction or just prior to a property transfer. Previously, if the service provider discovered worn or dysfunctional components, the owner would file a construction permit application with the Local Health Department (LHD), schedule a site evaluation with the LHD, uncover the system prior to the LHD site evaluation, and then wait for issuance ofthe construction permit. The service provider could not replace the components until obtaining a valid construction permit. Additionally, after replacing the components, the service provider would have to contact the LHD to schedule a final construction inspection prior to covering the system.

As a result, some property owners could spend considerable time and money replacing worn or dysfunctional components. The amendments to Va. Code § 32.1-163 streamline the process by allowing properly licensed service providers to replace sewer lines, conveyance lines, distribution boxes, header lines, or other like components without a permit provided: i) local ordinances do not require a permit; and ii) the service providers are properly licensed to perform the work.

Effective July 1, 2018, properly licensed individuals will be able to conduct in-kind replacements of damaged or worn light bulbs, fuses, filters, pumps, motors, sewer lines, conveyance lines, distribution boxes, and header lines as maintenance, without a permit or construction inspection from the LHD.  In-kind replacement shall not impact the design of the original system (e.g. maintain minimum horizontal separation distances).

RRHD recommends owners have their properly licensed individuals submit a voluntary maintenance report (http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/20/2018/07/Attachment-3-GMP-2018-02-fillable.pdf) each time maintenance is performed on their Conventional Sewage Disposal System.  These reports can be submitted directly to any one of our area environmental health offices.  If you have any questions please call one of our offices.

HB 888 Changes:

 Owners are currently required to submit evaluations and designs from properly licensed private sector individuals for applications that are for:

  • A non-residential sewage system.
  • A system that will use over 1,000 gallons per day.
  • An alternative onsite sewage system.
  • An onsite sewage system design that requires a professional engineer.

Beginning July 1, 2018, applications for onsite sewage systems and/or private wells must be accompanied by supporting work from a private sector professional who is properly licensed to do such work through the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). The RRHD will require evaluations and designs from properly licensed individuals for onsite sewage system or private well applications related to:

~ Certification Letters.
~ Voluntary Upgrade Permits.
~ Subdivision Reviews.
~ New construction of onsite sewage systems for properties that are not intended to serve as the owner(s)’ principal place of residence.

RRHD may provide design services for conventional onsite sewage systems and private wells if requested by the owner. Applications are limited to:

  • New construction onsite systems intended to serve a principal place of residence.
  • Expansion intended to serve a principal place of residence (such as adding a bedroom)
  • Repairs.
  • Safe, Adequate, and Proper (Health Department Verifications)
  • Minor modification of an existing sewage disposal system (adding an accessory building such as a garage to the onsite system)
  • Private well evaluations and designs

However, RRHD encourages the use of properly licensed private sector individuals for these services. An owner does not have to use RRHD for design services.  For questions, Please contact one of our area environmental health offices.

Click here for more information on these changes and other VDH Polices


Alternative Onsite Sewage Systems

On July 1, 2009, the Virginia Department of Health will begin regulating the operation and maintenance of alternative onsite sewage systems. Certain requirements, such as requiring owners of newly installed alternative systems to record notices in the land records and for owners to operate their alternative systems according to manufacturers’ instructions, go into effect on July 1. Other requirements regarding alternative systems are under development and will be phased in as interim requirements, emergency regulations and final regulations go into effect.

Here is the specific link to the operation and maintenance manuals (e.g. “manufacturers’ instructions”):

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth/ONSITE/documents/2009/xls/Web%20Page%20Display.xls


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