To receive a sewage installation permit a sewage permit application must first be purchased from the local municipality by the applicant. Upon receiving this application the applicant will be assigned an S.E.O.. The S.E.O. will then need to visit the property and conduct a soil probe. The soil probe will allow the S.E.O. to determine a limiting zone in the soil’s characteristics. Depending on the limiting zone found, a percolation test may need to be conducted and from that test a percolation rate will be determined. The percolation rate is used in sizing the square footage of an absorption field. A limiting zone found to be less than twenty inches will dictate alternative actions and additional instructions will be given to the applicant by the S.E.O. at that time. After the type of system is determined to be installed a septic system design must be submitted to the PADEP for approval of the installation. Once approval of the septic system design has been granted, a sewage installation permit will be issued to the applicant and installation can proceed.
- Sewage Installation Permit
A permit allowing a septic system installation will be issued to the applicant / homeowner by the S.E.O. after review and acceptance of the septic system design.
- Sewage Permit Application
An application must first be purchased by the homeowner to begin the process of installing a septic system. Upon receiving this application the homeowner will be assigned an S.E.O.
Sewage Enforcement Officer, also commonly referred to as an “Inspector”. The job of the sewage enforcement officer is to conduct soil evaluations and determine the type of septic system to be installed. He also issues the installation permits, and conducts a final inspection of the septic system after installation is complete and ready to be backfilled.
- Soil Probe
A soil probe, also commonly referred to as a “test pit”, is a hole excavated by machine, to allow the S.E.O. to determine the property’s soil conditions. From those conditions he then determines the type of septic system required to be installed.
- Limiting Zone
Limiting Zone is a soil condition found in a “soil probe” determined by the S.E.O. to be a layer of soil which will no longer remediate the sewer water. This limiting zone will be expressed in a measurement of inches from the soils surface to this limiting layer. This depth to limiting zone is used in determining the type of septic system required to be installed.
- Percolation Test
Also known as a “Perc Test” is when six inch diameter holes will be dug, water will then be poured into these holes. The time is then measured to determine how fast the soil can absorb the water. This measurement is called the Percolation Rate.
- Percolation Rate
The Percolation Rate is determined by the Percolation Test this measurement is expressed as Minutes / Inch. (i.e. how many minutes does the soil take to absorb an inch of water.) This time measurement is then used to determine how many square feet of soil it will take to absorb the water used in the household.
- Absorption Field
Area of ground surface determined to be required to treat and absorb the water used in the household.
- Septic System Design
A design is a map of where the septic system will be located on the property in relation to the dwelling, property lines, well, streams, or other natural features. It will also include calculations of daily water usage, pump sizing (if required), and all components that will be used in the installation of the septic system.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection