Septic Systems

Fee update: Sewage (Septic Tank) Program (effective July 1, 2015)
Since 1993, The Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) has been committed to maintaining an effective Sewage Treatment System Operation and Management program, while keeping the annual permit cost to property owners as low as possible. Effective January 1, 2015, new statewide sewage regulations require local health departments to incorporate new categories within their fee structure in addition to revisiting fees that were in existence prior to the effective date of these new rules. These new fees will become effective on July 1, 2015.

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The following sugestions are written for the benefit of those homeowners making a major investment in their homes by replacing their current septic system. It is not meant to be a legal/scientific covering all aspects of the project, but rather some common sense items to protect homeowners from problems.

  • Before the contractor begins to dig, or you make the first payment, ask to see a landscape plan showing how all the water will flow from the house to the new system. This plan should include where the water will drain out in the yard; is there a pond or a stream that will be affected? Also included in the plan should be the specific location and type of tanks to be used in the new system.
  • ˜The best plans use color pencils to indicate water flow; one color for clean water and another for dirty water. Ask for this.
  • ˜Check that every egress of water from the house is included in the plan. These should include, but not be limited to, sump pump, basement sinks, laundry facilities and lavatories.
  • ˜Water from rain drains must must be separated be separated from any water that feeds into the septic system. Rainwater should eventually spill off/run to a natural clear water area.
  • ˜Make sure that any old pipes to be used as part of the new Contact
  • ˜Make sure that any additions to the originally contracted price to the originally contracted price are agreed upon before before the additional work is undertaken. It is good to get the additional costs in writing.
  • ˜Take pictures and keep a diary of the work as it progresses. Once the pipes are covered with soil, you will not be able to determine what is connected to what.
  • ˜There should be access to clean-out drains. Access may be necessary if a backup occurs and it is necessary to snake out the pipe.
  • ˜Review the impact the new system will have on existing landscape. There will be a considerable amount of soil left on the surface after the new system is completed. Will the contractor remove the soil or is the homeowner responsible for the clean up? Be sure your contract reflects this issue. Some of the soil left on the top of new pipes will need to settle and be graded months after the work is completed. Trees, plants, shrubs, etc. that have to be moved can be replanted elsewhere if the contractor’s plan is well communicated.
  • ˜Once a county permit is taken out to do the work, it is not transferable to another contractor. Should you decide to use a different contractor you will have to pay for a new permit.
  • ˜Make sure the contractor is held responsible for removing debris such as old pipes, drain tiles, etc.
    ˜It is impossible for a contractor to see underground before starting the work. Advise your contractor of hidden wires, pipes, etc.
  • ˜Do not let the contractor bully you into something that does not make sense. If you are unsure of some item, get another opinion
  • ˜Use the county health department representitive to test the system thoroughly after completion to make sure the effect on the environment is satisfactory and in conformance with current code. This would include a water test for bacteria as needed if the homeowner is suspicious of possible contaminated water.˜

-by Roger Sunkle, Resident of Orange Village