On Site Sewage Facilities (OSSF)
About 45,000 on-site wastewater treatment systems are installed annually in Texas to treat wastewater from rural and suburban homes as well as from small businesses. An on-site wastewater treatment system collects, treats and applies wastewater to the soil.
By definition, wastewater managed by an on-site system cannot leave the property where it is generated. The water can evaporate into the air, transpire though plants or move though the soil to groundwater. An effective on-site system removes wastewater from the home, treats and distributes the wastewater, and protects our water resources.
Selecting the appropriate system for the site conditions is critical to the system's success. If you select the wrong system or design, or install, operate or maintain the system improperly, it can fail, which could result in pollution of your property and that of others. You could also be fined.
Because homeowners are responsible for conducting or contracting for maintenance of a system, they should be involved in selecting the technology, or type of system used.
What is a Septic System?
A septic system is a method of dealing with household wastewater in areas where public sewers are not available. The standard type of septic system involves a septic tank (to hold wastewater from toilets and drainpipes until solids settle out in the tank), and a system of pipes that distribute the remaining liquid waste underground over a large area --the leach field--where the wastewater "percolates" through the soil, which helps to clean the water.
The goal is to make sure that this filtration though the soil is sufficient to clean the wastewater before it reaches drinking water well sources or surface waters.
I Need a Septic System
State and County laws require that a permit be issued by the department prior to constructing or making non-emergency repairs to a septic system. The associated costs for a permit to construct a new system can be found by following the link below.
Septic System Maintenance
Emergency repairs may be made to an OSSF providing that the repair:
- Is made for the abatement of an immediate, serious and dangerous health hazard; and
- Does not constitute an alteration of that OSSF system’s planning materials and function (which would require the issuance of a new OSSF permit).
Our office can be consulted on possible repair alternatives, but ultimately the homeowner is responsible for the repair of a failing system.
Homeowner Maintenance Class
Introduction to Onsite Wastewater Treatment for Single Family Residents
Preventing Illness & Accidents Working with Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
How Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Using Aerobic Treatment Work
Your Aerobic Wastewater Treatement System is Part of the Family
Operation & Maintenance of Systems Using Aerobic Treatment, Disinfection and Spray Field
Compliance Test & Reports
Tools of the Trade
Homeowner Maintenance of Aerobic OSSFs
Can a homeowner maintain their own aerobic on-site sewage facility (OSSF)?
Yes, if their OSSF serves a single family dwelling.
What kind of training is a homeowner required to take in order to maintain their own aerobic OSSF?
Homeowners are not required to take any training in order to maintain their own system.
What kind of testing reports does a homeowner need to submit to the County if they choose to maintain their own aerobic OSSF?
Homeowners are not required to submit any maintenance reports to Comal County if they choose to maintain their own system.
Does a homeowner need to contact Comal County to let them know that they will be maintaining their own aerobic OSSF?
A homeowner is not required to notify Comal County if they choose to maintain their own aerobic OSSF.
What happens if the County determines that the homeowner is not maintaining their aerobic OSSF correctly?
The homeowner must correct the violation within 10 days of notification by Comal County. Otherwise, they will be required to enter into a contract for the maintenance of their aerobic OSSF.
What happens if the County determines that the homeowner commits subsequent violations in maintaining their aerobic OSSF?
If the homeowner commits two violations within three years of each other, then the homeowner must enter into a contract for maintenance within 10 days of notification by Comal County.
Can the owner of a commercial business maintain their own aerobic OSSF?
No. The only people that are allowed to maintain an aerobic OSSF’s other than licensed maintenance providers are owners of OSSF’s serving single family dwellings.
Are licensed maintenance providers still required to submit testing reports to Comal County?
Yes. The reporting requirements for licensed maintenance providers have not changed.
Does Comal County intend to adopt more stringent rules regarding maintenance of single family residential aerobic OSSF’s?
At this time, Comal County is required to adhere to the current State statutes and TCEQ regulations regarding homeowner maintenance of single family residential aerobic OSSF’s. See TCEQ Guidance Document.