Wells & Onsite Septic Systems
The Health Department reviews installations of wells and septic systems as well as operations of alternative onsite septic systems.
A Well & Septic Application is required to obtain a permit for a well or septic system and must be accompanied by supporting work from a private sector service provider who is properly licensed to do such work through the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). Documentation or a design certified by a private sector service provider must be in compliance with all applicable state and county regulations and requirements. The design must provide a construction drawing identifying the proposed well or septic system location, construction specifications for the well or septic system, and include sufficient details for a licensed well driller to construct the well or septic system. Consult with your private sector service provider for additional information.
Uses That Require a Well & Septic Application
A Well & Septic Application is required for the following uses - additional information may be needed for the specific use:
- Sewage System Construction Permit Application is needed to construct a new sewage system, or to repair or modify an existing sewage system. Include a survey plat of the parcel or Request for Survey Waiver from the Virginia Department Health.
- Well Permit Application is for constructing a new or replacement water well, or to modify or repair an existing water well.
- Certification Letter Application is for an owner or applicant that is not ready to start construction but wishes to identify a specific site for an onsite sewage system. Certification letters do not expire and shall convey with the land in the event that the property is sold. Include a survey plat of the parcel identifying the site(s) for an onsite sewage system.
- Hydrogeologic Study Application is for a hydrogeologic study and must include the report completed and conducted in accordance with the Loudoun County Facilities Standards Manual.
- Safe, Adequate and Proper Evaluation Application (SAP) is an evaluation of the current condition of an existing onsite sewage system. A building official may require an SAP evaluation prior to issuance of a building permit for a structure designed for human occupancy. For background, see the Virginia Department of Health Guidance Memoranda and Policy on SAP Reviews. An SAP may also be required as part of a change of use project, see the Guidelines for Change of Use or New Use Properties (PDF).
- Subdivision Application is to evaluate and review soils for the purpose of subdivision. Upon completion of the soils review, the Health Department will issue a preliminary subdivision approval letter for inclusion with a Land Development application submitted to the Building Department. If applicable, this letter may also document approval of a hydrogeological study.
- Water and Sewer Evaluation Application is for evaluating the existing onsite sewage system and well water supply; this is typically for change of use projects, subdivisions, or as requested by a government agency.
Petition for Services
Only owners that submit a Virginia Department of Health Petition for Services and qualify for means testing requirements (based on federal poverty guidelines), or a hardship contained in the Virginia Department of Health’s Hardship Guidelines, will be eligible to receive evaluation and design services from the Virginia Department of Health.
Onsite Application Submittals
A pump & haul system utilizes a tank or tanks to hold sewage until it is pumped out by a licensed pumper and hauled away and disposed of at an approved receiving facility.
Prior to installing a new tank(s), supporting work from a private sector service provider is required along with the permit application. Documentation or a design certified by a private sector service provider must be in compliance with all applicable state and county regulations and requirements. The design must provide a construction drawing, system specifications, and include sufficient details for a licensed installer to construct the system. Consult with your private sector service provider for additional information.
Types of Pump and Haul Systems
- Emergency pump and haul is practiced when an existing system is not functioning as designed and the sewage is pumped from the tanks as a temporary and corrective measure. Emergency pump and haul may be operated until a permanent solution is put in place but is not to be operated for more than 12 months.
- Temporary pump and haul may be used when the construction of a sewage system or treatment works is actively in progress, completion is assured through bonding or other assurances, and a completion date has been set; temporary pump and haul is not the normal practice to permit premature development and is not to be operated for more than 12 months.
- Permanent pump and haul may be used when an onsite sewage system cannot be identified and permitted for a parcel. Approval by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is required prior to applying for and receiving a permit to construct a permanent pump and haul system.
Alternative Onsite Septic Systems (AOSS) are required to be operated, maintained and inspected by a Licensed Professional. Licensed AOSS Operators are regulated by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). The requirements for AOSSs are outlined in Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 1067 - Inspection of Alternative Onsite Sewage Systems and Establishment of Alternative Discharging Sewage Systems
It is recommended that all property owners have some form of agreement with a maintenance provider to look at the system twice per year. Failure to maintain an onsite septic system can cause partially treated or raw sewage to surface on the ground creating an unsanitary condition. This effect may be local or may extend for miles in certain cases. AOSS typically cost two to four times that of a conventional on-site system therefore, if these systems are not maintained, repairs can be costly.
Certain Licensed AOSS Operators may also provide maintenance and can combine visits for maintenance and inspection. However, please recognize that maintenance is not inspection and inspection is not maintenance. Maintenance recorded by service providers as well as inspections recorded by Licensed AOSS Operators can be viewed at Online RME (see the Well & Septic Records tab for more information about Online RME).
Civil penalties or tickets may now be issued to owners who do not stay in compliance with the new requirements. Penalties start at $100, with additional $150 penalties every 10 days the owner remains out of compliance up to $3,000. This provision was established for local governments by the general assembly in 2006 and became effective in November 2008 under the Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance Chapter 1067.
AOSS Annual Inspections
The Loudoun County Health Department contacts the owners of properties served by an AOSS (Property Owner) each year advising them that they are required to have their system inspected by a Licensed AOSS Operators no later than July 1 of that year.
Contractor's Licenses are issued by the Loudoun County Health Department and are required for onsite sewage system installers, pump and haulers of wastewater systems, pump and haulers of portable toilets, well drillers, and well pump installers.
Loudoun licenses must be applied for annually. New contractors will be required to meet with a senior specialist to review Loudoun County codes, requirements, processes, and procedures.
The following documents are required with the appropriate contractor’s license application:
- Appropriate DPOR License (All licenses, specialty licenses, certifications, etc. required by DPOR for specific trade)
- Proof of Bond (required from Well Drillers only)
- Truck Inspection - Proof if not done by Loudoun County (P&H & portable toilets)
- Truck inspection - Form from inspector if done by Loudoun County (P&H & portable toilets)
Requests for a Loudoun County Contractor’s License application, and completed applications may be requested using the appropriate email address listed below:
- Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 1040 - Water Wells
- Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 1066 - Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems
- Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 1067 - Inspection of Alternative Onsite Sewage Systems and Establishment of Alternative Discharging Sewage Systems
- Virginia Department of Health - Onsite and Well Information for Virginia Citizens
- Virginia Department of Health - Septic System and Private Well Service Providers