OSTDS - Septic Tanks
Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), commonly referred to as septic systems, are a safe and effective means of wastewater disposal for 30 percent of Florida’s population. With an estimated 2.6 million systems in operation, Florida represents 12 percent of the United States’ septic systems. Properly designed, constructed, and maintained systems protect Florida’s ground water which provides 90 percent of Florida’s drinking water. You can find the latest information and forms for this program at the Florida Department of Health website.
The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at West Virginia University has made available three video public service announcements (PSAs) about the importance of homeowner septic tank operation and maintenance. The videos were funded by EPA and complement NESC’s ongoing “SMART about Water” Program that promotes effective wastewater treatment and source water protection. Each of the videos is presented in a humorous light for television audiences and the Web. You may view and download the PSAs at: http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/subpages/psa.cfm.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the reason for an inspection of the septic tank system for a new business?
- What is the reason to have the existing septic tank system approved before I add a room onto my home?
- Who determines if I need a mound septic system?
- What do I need to do to fix my drainfield?
1. What is the reason for an inspection of the septic tank system for a new business?
I am going to start up a new business and have found a shop that is the perfect size and location. I went to get my occupational license and they told me I had to get the septic tank system approved by the Florida Department of Health in Nassau County.
Florida Statute 381.0065 requires that all businesses that use a septic tank system for sewage disposal obtain approval from the local health department any time that there is a change in the business owner, business type or a tenant. Septic tank systems are specifically sized based on the type of business that is connected to the system. Changes in business operations can increase the sewage flow or change the sewage characteristics which may cause premature septic system failure resulting in a sanitary nuisance and expensive repairs.
Who is responsible for submitting the application? The application can be submitted and paid for by the owner or tenant.Top of Section
2. What is the reason to have the existing septic tank system approved before I add a room onto my home?
I plan on adding a room onto my existing home. The building department told me I needed to have the existing septic tank system approved before they would issue a building permit. I think that I do not need to do this because it will not be air conditioned.
If you are going to add on to your existing home you will need to have an existing septic system inspection. This inspection procedure is needed to determine if the existing septic system is large enough for the addition. Garages, carports, exterior storage sheds, or open or screened patios or decks are excluded. Air conditioning or heating of the addition is irrelevant to this requirement. The enclosed habitable area of a dwelling unit is considered building area which is used to determine the required septic system size.Top of Section
3. Who determines if I need a mound septic system?
I own a lot which I plan on building a house. I was told by a friend of mine that I will probably need to have a mounded septic system. My lot is high and dry it never flooded during the heavy rains we had recently so I do not want a mound.
Chapter 64E-6 of the Florida Administrative Code requires a 24 inch separation between the wet season water table and the bottom of the drainfield. Water tables can fluctuate drastically between rainy and dry seasons. Wet season water tables are determined by looking at the color and texture of the soil, USDA soil survey maps, and vegetation in the area. Once the water table is established then a permit is written to meet State code requirements. If the 24 inch separation to the water table requires that the drainfield be mounded then it will require stabilization with 6 to 18 inches of soil cover and 4 foot shoulders on all sides of the drainfield material. If sod will be used on the slopes then a 2:1 slope is required for mounds up to 36 inches high, 3:1 slopes for mounds greater than 36 inches high; if hay and seed is used then 5:1 slopes must be provided regardless of mound height. Note: If a mound is needed to repair or replace an existing septic system at an existing home or business there are different water table separation requirements depending on the permit date of the original septic system.Top of Section
4. What do I need to do to fix my drainfield?
If you need to have your septic drainfield repaired or replaced, you must first apply for a septic system repair permit.Top of Section