Septic Systems

Summit County’s population has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, placing a growing demand on the county’s infrastructures. Although public sewage treatment facilities serve the majority of Summit County residents, many others rely on onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS or septic systems). Such systems, if constructed and maintained properly, provide a reliable and efficient means of wastewater treatment and disposal at a relatively low cost.

To ensure the aesthetic integrity of an area surrounding an On Site Wastewater Treatment System and to prevent health hazards presented by a malfunctioning OWTS, the Environmental Health Department issues OWTS permits (pdf) and conducts inspections of the installation of all new OWTS and repairs to existing systems in Summit County. Read the OWTS information packet (pdf) for requirements.

Most systems in the county are designed, or may be required to be designed by an Licensed Engineer (pdf). All OWTS construction, repair or upgrade must be performed by a Licensed OWTS Contractor (pdf).

The Environmental Health Department is recognizing SepticSmart Week from September 18 – 23, 2023. This year SepticSmart Week is celebrating its 11th Anniversary! 

Proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our highly valued groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect.

It’s importance to care for and maintain your septic system. You can visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency for more information on SepticSmart week.

  1. Think at the Sink – What goes down your drain has a big impact on your septic system. Avoid harsh chemical and use cleaners/detergents in moderation.
  2. Don’t Strain Your Drain – Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances (such as washing machine) to avoid a back up of your septic system into your house.
  3. Keep it Clean – If you have a well, many things can contaminate your drinking water, such as a failing septic system. Test your well water regularly!
  4. Shield Your Field – Tree and shrub roots, cars, and livestock can damage your drainfield. 
  5. Protect It and Inspect It – Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars and protect public health.
  6. Don’t Overload the Commode – A toilet is not a trashcan. Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, cat litter and much more can damage your septic system. 
  7. Pump Your Tank – Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority. 

Installation of the average four-bedroom OWTS costs around $20,000-$50,000 or higher. The average life for these systems is 30 years, but can vary from over 40 years to only 10 years. The best way to make sure your system lasts as long as possible is to properly maintain it. Simple practices such as proper pumping, fixing leaking fixtures, and not over-occupying a home can significantly lengthen the life of your system. Please refer to the Operation and Maintenance Manual (pdf) for more information. Your system should be pumped regularly by a Licensed OWTS Pumper (pdf).

The Summit County onsite wastewater treatment system regulations require that when a property formerly served by an onsite wastewater system is connected to a public works sewage-treatment service, the septic tank shall be properly abandoned within 180 days of the connection.

Abandonment of an old tank is also required when a septic tank is replaced. 

Requirements for abandonment of a septic tank

  • The septic tank shall be pumped by a licensed septic tank clear.
  • The septic tank shall either be removed and properly disposed of or the tank bottom broken and the tank filled with soil or rock.
  • The Environmental Health Department shall be provided with proof of pumping of the tank and statement outlining how the tank was abandoned. 

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