Staff Services: Jennifer Valentine, REHS, McCray Wooten, EHST, Nicholas McConnaughey, EHST
As of January 1, 2015, the State of Ohio’s new comprehensive sewage regulations are effective.

To view the new sewage treatment regulations and related information,

Fairfield County remains one of the fastest growing counties in the state. With nearly 82,000 new people expected to move to Fairfield County by the year 2030, the county's infrastructure will soon begin to feel pressure from this continued growth. With this growth comes an increase in the number of sewage treatment systems.

Your Fairfield County Health Department is responsible for overseeing the siting, design, and installation of Household Sewage Treatment System (HSTS), Small Flow Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems (SFOSTS), and Gray Water Recycling Systems (GWRS). HSTS are septic systems for 1, 2 or 3 family dwelling homes; SFSOTS are sewage treatment systems that treat not more than one thousand gallons of sewage per day. For example, a SFOSTS might be used in a church or small business not accessible to a municipal sewage system. Gray Water Recycling Systems are systems that treat and reuse or recycle back into the environment wastewater discharged from lavatories, bathtubs, showers, clothes washers, and laundry sinks that does not contain food wastes or bodily wastes.

The HSTS and SFOSTS program involves issuing sewage treatment system (STS) permits for new installations, replacement systems and alterations permits within Fairfield County. Your health department also registers household sewage treatment installers, service providers, and pumpers, who operate with Fairfield County.

Any installation or alteration work performed on a sewage treatment system requires permits from FDH. Once the work is completed by a licensed and bonded installer, a final inspection must be performed by a Registered Sanitarian from FDH before the system can be backfilled and put into service. FDH maintains a list of installers, service providers, and pumpers that are licensed and bonded for work in Fairfield County.
    Contact the Fairfield County Engineer's office to apply for an address. The lot will also need to be cleared of any high weeds, crops, etc. prior to design review by the Fairfield County Health Department.

    Please note, the Fairfield County Health Department does not register, certify, or recommend soil professionals. All applications for a new sewage treatment system permit will require a soil testing report submitted with the application.  This will apply to every lot, regardless of the size of the lot or the date it was created.

  • 3. FDH will return a Calculation Worksheet with HSTS options and information based on the soil report you submitted. 
    Provide the Calculation Worksheet to your septic system installer, designer or engineer to use as guidance to design your HSTS.

  • 4. Choose an installer from the list of installers registered in Fairfield County. 
    All installers on the list are licensed and bonded.  The Fairfield Department of Health does not rate or recommend sewage treatment installers.  Therefore, you may wish to contact the Better Business Bureau prior to hiring one.

  • 5. Submit the completed design proposal + soil reports
    Required design proposal and soil reports, permit application and appropriate fee to the Fairfield County Health Department.

Sewage Alteration vs. Replacement

Not sure if you need to apply for an alteration or a replacement permit for an existing sewage treatment system? Answer these questions to help you determine which permit is right for you.

  • 1. Are you experiencing a failure within your leaching (i.e. surfacing of effluent) and need to replace it?
  • 2. Are you abandoning your existing system/leaching to relocate it somewhere else on the property.
       If the answer is "yes" to questions 1 or 2, you need to apply for a Replacement Permit.
       If the answer is no to both questions, continue...
  • 3. Are you replacing an existing residence with a new house of the same size and connecting to the existing system?
  • 4. Are you maintaining existing leaching but replacing the tank or a component with similar parts? (Aerator motor and riser replacements do not require a permit)
       If you answered "yes" to questions 3 or 4, you need to apply for an alteration permit.
       If you answered "no" to all questions or have further questions, please contact the Environmental Office to speak to an Environmental Health Specialist for more information.

How can I get a sewage permit?

Obtain the sewage permit application form or contact the Environmental Clerks at either 740-652-2813 or 740-652-2837.  They can also be reached by email at either or

How can I obtain a soil test?

Soil tests are not performed by the staff at the Fairfield County Health Department.  You can find a list of soil evaluators or on the Ohio Department of Health’s website.

How much does a permit cost?

Permit costs are subject to change from year to year.  For the current cost of a permit, please contact the Environmental Office at either 740-652-2813 or 740-652-2837.  The Clerks can also be reached by email at either or

I want to install a bathroom in an exterior building or garage. Do I need a permit?

Yes.  As long as the building is within a reasonable distance from the house, the owner can connect into the line running into the existing sewage tank with an alteration permit.  Check with your installer to see if a grinder pump will be needed. 

I’m building an addition on my house. Do I need a permit?

When an addition is added to a house, even if the addition includes a bedroom, we will not require an upgrade to the sewage treatment system. The addition must meet distance requirements – including the ten-foot isolation distance from both the well and sewage treatment system. If the sewage treatment system should fail in the future, the replacement system must meet current code requirements. However, if the addition involves more than one bedroom, an upgrade of the sewage treatment system may be required.

I want to install living space in an exterior building or garage. Do I need a permit?

For a building or garage that is NOT ATTACHED to the house, a separate sewage treatment system will be required.  This will require soil tests (for primary and reserve) as well as an application for a new sewage treatment system.

For a building or garage that is ATTACHED to the house, this will be considered an addition to the house and no permit is required.  The line must connect into the house’s sewer line (before exiting the foundation).

I want to build a new house on a lot with an existing sewage treatment system. Can I connect the new house to the existing system?

It depends. 

  • • Does the new house have the same number of bedrooms as the old house?
  • • Is the existing system in good working condition?

If the answer to either question is yes, you will be permitted to connect to the existing system with an alteration permit.

If the answer to either question is no, you will be required to install a new sewage treatment system.

My sewage tank needs to be replaced but my leaching is still functional. Do I need a permit?

Yes, you will need an alteration permit.  The condition of the leach field or other secondary treatment will be verified by an Environmental Health Specialist.

I want to install a pool or barn on my property. How far from my sewage system does it need to be?

Any structure added to your property, such as a pool, building, patio, deck, etc., must maintain a ten-foot isolation distance from the sewage treatment system.

I need to replace/ repair my sewage treatment system but can’t afford it. What can I do?

State funding is available for the repair or replacement of your sewage treatment system but is income dependent and includes restrictions.  To learn more about this program, please contact the Environmental Director, Rachel Morasea, at 740-652-2823.

I want to apply for a variance to the rules. What do I do?

Variance Request Form 
You should discuss the issue with an Environmental Health Specialist before submitting your request for review by the Fairfield County Board of Health.  There is a fee required for submission and there is no guarantee the request will be approved.

My neighbor’s property is creating a nuisance. What can I do?

A nuisance complaint can be reported by submitting the form by mail or email to the Environmental Office at or  If you are not sure whether an issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Fairfield County Health Department, please contact the Environmental Office to speak to an Environmental Health Specialist.

Where can I find the rules governing sewage treatment systems?

The regulations governing sewage treatment systems in the State of Ohio can be found in the Ohio Administrative Code, Section 3701-29.