A "septic tank system" is a subsurface wastewater system consisting of a settling tank and a subsurface disposal field. Septic systems are used when sewage treatment plants are not accessible. They safely treat and dispose of wastewaters produced in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. These wastewaters may contain disease-causing germs and pollutants that must be treated to protect human health and the environment. Although septic systems are usually a permanent solution to wastewater treatment and disposal, they sometimes serve as a temporary solution until sewer lines are installed.

Water Quality is responsible for all permitting activities that require a septic tank system for wastewater disposal.

Rules and Regulations governing septic systems in Wake County include both the State rules and local regulations. 

The Water Quality Division offers technical assistance to those designing septic and wastewater systems. There are different types of septic systems including pump to conventional systems, pressure manifold systems, low-pressure pipe (LPP) systems and aerobic treatment unit (ATU) systems. These types of systems normally have pumps, electrical floats and controls, alarms or other mechanical parts that are sure to fail without maintenance. For this reason, state rules have specific maintenance requirements for a number of these systems.

The U.S. EPA is hosting the annual SepticSmart Week, September 22–26, 2014. EPA's SepticSmart initiative is a nation-wide public education effort that informs homeowners living on properties serviced by septic systems about the importance of properly maintaining their septic system and provides resources to help homeowners make important decisions regarding their wastewater management needs.


Have questions or need more information? Contact Kent Daeke, Onsite Wastewater Supervisor at 919-856-7434.