For a copy of Fact Sheet for the OWTS Policy, click here.
The State OWTS Policy requires local agencies to adopt either Tier 1 standards (general, broad, and sometimes very restrictive requirements); or develop a Tier 2 Local Agency Management Program (LAMP), that allows alternative methods from Tier 1 requirements in order to achieve the same purpose of protecting water quality and public health but with local flexibility.
Yolo County Environmental Health Division developed a Tier 2 LAMP which consists of two parts, an updated local ordinance a new manual. Yolo County Board of Supervisors adopted the Ordinance, which adopted by reference the manual. These documents can be accessed by the following links.
Yolo County Ordinance Chapter 19, Onsite Wastewater Treatment System. For a copy of the Chapter, click here.
Yolo County Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual. For a copy of the manual, click here.
For a copy of the Appendices for the Manual, click here.
What is an Onsite Wastewater Treatment System / Septic System?
Septic systems are needed to dispose of human sewage/wastewater on a site where connection to a community sewer system is not available. Septic systems then treat this sewage
What's Important to Know? Design: A properly planned Septic System is important, and it all starts with a Site and Soils Evaluation. Installation: Yolo County's Septic Manual provides important installation information. Maintenance: The Septic System Maintenance Handout provides important information for septic system owners.
Please Remember: Septic Systems will not function properly forever...BUT a properly designed, installed, and maintained septic system can function for a very long time!
Standard/Gravity Septic System vs. Alternative Septic System
The most basic system, the standard/gravity-fed system, consists of a septic tank, one or more distribution boxes, distribution perforated lines and enough available, native soil, capable of treating the liquid waste.
An alternative system requires engineering considerations beyond a standard system, to address limiting site conditions (high water table, impervious soil, rock layer, etc.) and/or proper effluent treatment.
Contractors with either a General Engineering (A), or Specialty Plumbing (C-36), or Sanitation System (C-42) License are qualified to repair or install septic systems under the regulations of the contractor’s licensing board. At times, a General Building (Class B) License can be approved for some jobs. Property owner may also perform some septic installations and repairs in Yolo County.
There is an active list of Septic System Contractors doing business in Yolo County; however, this list may not be all-inclusive and Environmental Health Division does not endorse contractors.
What Can I Do To Properly Maintain The Septic System?
Use minimal amounts of water to avoid overloading the leach field.
Don’t dispose of pesticides, solvents, waste oil, anti-freeze or other hazardous chemical into the septic system. These chemicals could kill the important bacteria in the tank that is necessary for a properly functioning system. Also, improper disposal of these hazardous items can result in fines and expensive clean-up measures.
Limit the use of a garbage disposal and limit the amount of grease, food scraps, garbage, and non-biodegradable items going into the septic system.
Know the location of your septic tank and leach field, and the leach replacement/repair area. Keep copies of all septic permits and record all septic services, such as septic tank pumpings. Your septic tank should be routinely pumped by a Yolo County licensed septage pumper/hauler.
If your system is failing, please call a septic system contractor immediately. The non-inclusive list of septic contractors is available by clicking here.
If sewage has backed up to the house or has surfaced on the ground, avoid allowing people or animals near the area. Avoid using plumbing fixtures until the repair has been made. For useful tips on how to clean up a sewage spill, please click here.
How Do I Abandon A Septic Tank?
Septic tanks are abandoned when septic systems are no longer needed, such as a home connecting to a public sewer system, or when the tank has failed. To abandon a septic tank you must do the following:
A permit from Environmental Health must be obtained prior to starting work.
All liquid wastes, scum and sludge shall be pumped from all septic tank compartments and properly disposed of by a permitted Yolo County Septage Hauler.
A copy of this pumping receipt is required for final permit approval.
There are 2 methods of Abandonment:
Removal: The tank will be removed and disposed of at an approved facility.
The top of the septic tank must be removed or sufficiently opened up to allow all of the compartments to be filled.
The bottom of the tank and at least one side should be cracked/opened, to prevent water retention after burial.
The compartments shall be completely filled with soil, sand, gravel, concrete or other approved inert material. All voids are to be filled to prevent future soil settling.
The Environmental Health Specialist will inspect the tank prior to final backfill.