A septic system or on-site wastewater treatment system (OWTS) is a self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system, most often utilized in rural areas.

The standard septic system involves a septic tank (to hold wastewater from drainpipes until solids settle out in the tank) and a system of pipes that distributes the remaining liquid waste underground over a large area — the leach field or Soil Treatment Area (STA). The goal is to make sure that this filtration through the soil is sufficient to clean the wastewater before it reaches groundwater sources.

State and county laws require that a permit must be issued by the department prior to constructing or making repairs to a septic system.

OWTS Permit Fees

New Residential OWTS Installation $825.00
New Commercial OWTS Installation $1,075.00
OWTS Major Remodel Installation $600.00
OWTS Minor Repair Inspection $145.00
Site and Soil Evaluation $300.00
PDPHE Transfer of Title Inspection $315.00
3rd Party Transfer of Title Application $95.00
Expired Permit Renewal $100.00

What is the role of PDPHE?

  • Issuance of permits to install, repair, expand, use, or operate a system
  • Plan reviews, site/soil evaluation(s) before, during, and after installation, and certification before the system is approved for use
  • Transfer of Title Issuance
  • Investigation of malfunctions of systems
  • Enforcement
  • Informational resource for OWTS Professionals and Homeowners



Septic System Care

How to Care for Your Septic System - EPA

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