Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a permit cost?

District Health Department No. 2 provides numerous services that require permits and fees. For the current cost of any permit, please refer to the fee schedule located on this website or contact your nearest District Health Department No. 2 office.

How long does it take to process a permit?

In accordance with District Health Department No. 2 policy, site evaluations will be completed within eight (8) business days of receipt of the application and fee.  However, this time may vary due to varying factors such as incomplete applications, project complexity, the involvement of other agencies, and extreme weather conditions. Every effort will be taken to ensure that your permit application is processed and your permit is issued in a timely manner.

How do I obtain a “perc test?”

A “perc test” is a general term for the soil evaluation preformed during a vacant land or septic permit site evaluation.  These evaluations are conducted to determine if an applicant’s property will “perc”, meaning is acceptable for the installation of a sewage disposal system.  An individual must submit a completed application and the associated fee to the health department which will then conduct the requested site evaluation.

What is the difference between a vacant land evaluation and septic permit application evaluation?

Both types of evaluations are conducted in the same manner. The physical site characteristics, soil texture, and depth to seasonal high water table are all evaluated in order to determine the suitability of the site for construction of a sewage disposal system.

The primary difference is that if approved, a septic permit evaluation authorizes the construction of a sewage disposal system, provides specific construction specifications, and has an expiration date, While vacant land evaluations provide only a written notification of either suitability or non-suitability of a property for sewage disposal.  Vacant land evaluations have no formal expiration and therefore are typically preformed in situations where the property may not be developed for an extended period of time.  Vacant land evaluation results are based on the site conditions at the time of the evaluation.

It is important to note that a vacant land evaluation approval is NOT authorization to construct a sewage disposal system, an application to construct a sewage disposal system must be submitted and a construction permit issued prior to any sewage disposal system construction.

What is a Seasonal High Water Table?

The seasonal high water table is the highest level or elevation of groundwater at which the soil is saturated by groundwater during the normally wet periods of the year (typically the spring and fall). The seasonal high water table may be determined by the examination of soils, soil saturation, soil mottling (during dry periods of the year) soil structure, historical records, technical data, or other verifiable data. Soil Mottling is characterized by pronounced color changes in the soil column caused by fluctuating soil saturation at various levels at certain times of the year.

For new construction sites, current District Health Department No. 2 Environmental Health Regulations require a minimum of three (3) feet of separation from the bottom of the drain field to the seasonal high water table.

How do I maintain my septic system?

Proper maintenance is essential to the longevity of septic system. Septic tanks should be opened and inspected annually and checked for excessive sludge or scum buildup.  It is recommended that tanks be pumped every 2-5 years to remove excessive buildup of these materials. It is also a good idea to practice water conservation.  Installing water saving devices on faucets and using low flow toilets will reduce excessive amounts of waste water from entering the system. Sump pump water, water softener recharge water, and storm water runoff should not be discharged to the sewage disposal system. Spreading laundry usage throughout the week and running full loads will also reduce excess waste water and prolong the life of your system.  It is important to fix leaking fixtures immediately.

What should I NOT put in my septic tank?

Septic tanks provide the primary source of treatment of household sewage and contain large amounts of bacteria which are essential for the treatment and breakdown of sewage wastes.  These beneficial bacterial are very sensitive and may be adversely affected by materials which are introduced into the septic tank.  It is important not to use excessive amounts of cleaners or disinfectants as these may harm bacteriologic processes in the septic tank.  Do not put hazardous materials such as chemicals, petroleum products, solvents, or paints into your system.  Avoid excessive use of a garbage disposal unit as these units increase the amount of solids going into your system that are difficult to break down.  Other harmful materials include fats, grease, coffee grounds, paper towels, disposable diapers, and feminine hygiene products.

Can I put in my own septic system?

Yes, provided that a sewage disposal system construction permit has been obtained from the health department. The system must be installed in accordance with the permit specifications and the requirements of the local sanitary code, and must be approved with a final inspection by the health department by prior to use.

What if I need a copy of a permit for an existing system?

In order to locate an existing septic, permit the health department staff will need the following information: Township, street address, subdivision and lot number (if applicable), property tax ID number, year of construction and the names of any previous owners.

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