Water & Sewer Application Process
All services for on-site sewage and water permits/certification letters begin with an application. Any party acting as an agent for either an owner or a proposed owner may file an application. The standard application is a state form, C.H.S. 200, Application for a Sewage Disposal and/or Water Supply Permit. Applications are available at local Health Department Environmental Offices. Applications clearly state what information is required of the applicant. Staff is advised to not accept incomplete applications.
- Construction permits for new construction. These permits are issued to the owner/agent/builder whose name will be placed on the building permit. These permits are valid for 18 months from the date of issuance and are non-transferable.
- Certification letters. Letters that certify that a particular site on a property (defined by a plat of survey) is suitable for the installation of an on-site sewage disposal system for a specified capacity (Number bedroom or gallons per day) and water supply. Certification letters do not certify what type of system or technology will be required. Certification letters are transferable and can be redeemed for construction permits with no charge if the permit is applied for within 18 months of issuance of the certification.
- Other requests for on-site permits and approvals. These requests will be based on applicants desire to expand, move, build or replace a structure and utilize existing well and septic systems. In most cases, a building permit will be applied for and the local building official will require VDH confirmation of the adequacy of the system before issuing an Occupancy Permit. VDH shall fully document and issue a new Sewage Operations Permit and well approval as confirmation.
Fees depend on what is to be permitted or certified
Note: State and Local Application fees have changed on July 1st. Please contact the Spotsylvania County Health Department at 540-507-7386.
For lots of record (not part of a subdivision, a subdivision is defined as multiple building lots derived from a parcel or parcels of land) and other lots where there are records of previously reviewed sites by either the Department or private consultants.
- Applicant/agent prepares a complete application for submittal to the local Health Department. CHS 200 or equivalent, site sketch, and/or proposed development plan (survey plat if available). See checklist for what a complete application consists of.
- Staff will do the basic review of the application and attachments, and confirms the completion of the application package.
- Fees for the cost of the requested permits/certification are determined and stamped on the application.
- The applicant/agent carries the complete, stamped application to the Code Compliance counter and obtains: a CBPA checklist that confirms what RPA and Reservoir features may be present or to be considered; the proper tax map and parcel number is confirmed.
- The applicant/agent carries the application to the Spotsylvania Treasures Office where fees are paid and the application is stamped paid. The Applicant/agent returns to the Health Department where staff assigns the application a permit number, and a copy of the application cover sheet is returned for the applicant’s file.
- The completed application is entered into the computer database, all relevant files relating to the property are searched for and the package is forwarded to the Environmental Supervisor or his designee who reviews the application for completeness.
- If the application is complete, it is assigned to an Environmental Health Specialist for field review and processing. If incomplete, the applicant is notified by either phone or letter regarding the deficiencies, and placed on hold for no longer than 90 days. When the deficiencies have been addressed, the application will be removed from the hold pile and placed in the “new” application stack for processing. (If the required information is not supplied within the 90 day “hold” period, the application is rejected and new fees and application will be required).
- The Environmental Health Specialist attempts to schedule a time and date for a site visit with the applicant or owner to confirm the intent of the applicant and to clarify the lot layout and proposed development plan. At times it is faster for the EHS to visit the site during the course of the day’s duties rather than to schedule a specific appointment that can be bumped by higher priority duties.
- When an EHS arrives at the site, confirmation that the lot and the development site is clearly and easily identified. Property corners are marked, lot lines are clearly defined and the development site is clearly and fully identified on-site and easily related to the site sketch submitted with the application. If not, the EHS is under direction to leave the lot and place the application on hold.
- The owner/agent is notified by phone or mail of specific deficiencies and the application is placed on hold until the Department is notified that the deficiencies are corrected. If this does not occur within 90 days, the application is rejected and new fees and application must be submitted.
- Applications removed from the hold pile, are placed at the bottom of the EHS’s individual assignment stack and reviewed when it rises to the top.
AOSE Application Process
This process allows builders and owners the flexibility of dealing with a certified site evaluator and working in consort with them to achieve the desired results in development of a property. AOSEs are state certified site and soils evaluators who are knowledgeable in the requirements of the Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations. They also have the training and expertise to prepare the appropriate paperwork for submittal and approval without further site and soil evaluations by Department employees. AOSE reports are required for subdivision proposals (unless the applicant is satisfied with the previously approved sites) and any other lot or site where the proposed construction plans will not work in accordance with previously issued approvals or permits. AOSE services can speed the review and approval process because, under State Code, the Department is required to review and approve AOSE reports within 15 working days of the submittal of a complete proposal. Rejected proposals have 90days to be resubmitted before new fees and applications are required. (Attached to this document are the generic review sheets for AOSE submissions currently used by the Spotsylvania Health Department.
The process for submitting an AOSE package is similar to the bare application process above, except:
- An AOSE package will contain three complete copies of the proposal for Department use.
- AOSEs provide varying levels of service. Some coordinate the entire process between the applicant, surveyor, engineer, and builder and walk the permit through the application process. Others may provide only the most basic service. As with all consumer issues, the person securing services from any individual or firm should check references and the satisfaction level of the clients.
Other On-site Permit Requests
As noted above there are many cases where applicants desire to change something about a lot. Construction of new or replacement structure, an addition or some other change that impacts the existing SDS (sewage disposal system) or water supply. The Rappahannock Area Health District has a policy regarding the evaluation and approval of existing systems for continued and expanded uses. When owners apply for permits with the local building official for accessory structures or uses on a property with a permitted drainfield and water supply, the local building official will often ask for confirmation of the following:
- The installed systems are permitted and OP’d.
- That the proposed construction activities will not have an adverse impact on the existing well, drainfield, and reserve areas.
VDH will provide copies of records on request. VDH does not have the regulatory authority or a mandated program to evaluate existing systems. Properly permitted and documented, installed Sewage Disposal Systems have a permit to operate and VDH will not infringe on that approval until the system fails or the owner wishes to make changes to the system or the structure to which the system is connected. It is then that a new permit is required and a new Sewage Operations Permit will be issued at the completion of the permit requirements.
Many requests are for lots with systems that are greater than ten years old, and in some cases, for lots that have incomplete or no records. The Rappahannock Area policy on evaluating existing systems describes the steps to be taken when requests are received on systems that meet the above criteria. The septic tank and distribution box are to be uncovered and an EHS will make a site visit to confirm the location and condition of the systems (an as built construction drawing will be made that defines the exact location of the house, well, septic tank, distribution box, and absorption field.
Any impacts which new construction may have on existing systems are noted, as well as options for mitigating those impacts. In any case where the owner or the local building official desire a final approval from VDH, a permit shall be applied for, fees paid (except for repairs) and a SO.P. issued. Final inspections and additional paperwork (such as well logs or completion statements) may be needed to make the file complete prior to the issuance of Operation Permits or other approvals.
Repair permits (no fees) are issued when the site evaluations, reports from owners or others reveal maintenance needs or system problems.
For more information, please visit the Virginia Department of Health's Division of On-site Sewage and Water Services website.