Septic Systems

If properly designed, constructed and maintained, a septic system can provide long-term, effective treatment of wastewater for homes/businesses without access to city sewage. If a septic system isn’t maintained, it might need to be replaced, costing thousands of dollars.

Further, a malfunctioning system can contaminate groundwater that might be a source of drinking water.

The Health Department provides inspections for septic systems in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties.

Steps to receive approval for a new septic system

  1. Person chooses a building site for their house, mobile home or commercial establishment.
  2. Person, or their agent, submits an application (Word or PDF ) for a site evaluation to the Health Department. Items required on the application include:
    1. Specific address and/or location of the site.
    2. Site boundary lines and dimensions of site should be staked and a survey plat copy submitted.
    3. Locations of existing structures, wells, ponds, streams, easements, roads, drives, etc., if present.
    4. Proposed or existing location of structure to be served by the system, and proposed system location marked (area to be tested).  Also mark any proposed alternative area.
    5. For homes: Number of bedrooms, if a garbage disposal will be installed and if the house will have a basement.
      For commercial use: Type of business, number of employees and shifts, type of plumbing fixtures proposed and related information.
  3. Site evaluation fee of $225 must be paid when the application is submitted.
  4. If the site evaluation results reveal that there is a usable area for possible septic system installation, then the inspector will mark that area. This area is not to be disturbed by such action as grading, heavy equipment traffic, placement of building materials or any related action. This is to prevent compaction and soil structure damage that could negatively affect the system’s ability to function. Any disturbance of the approved area in the manner described could void the site evaluation.  Normal mowing or bush hogging of area would be allowed unless otherwise stated.
  5. A copy of the site evaluation report will be provided to the applicant. On the report, the inspector’s soil characteristic findings will be listed along with the minimum system option information. Specific system component requirements related to any options are the responsibility of the certified installer. However, should the installer or applicant have any questions regarding such information, simply contact the health inspector for additional information.
  6. If the site received a suitable or provisionally suitable overall rating, then the certified installer may apply at the Health Department for a permit to install the septic system. At that time, all required paperwork must be submitted along with the permit fee. Permit will be based on site evaluation findings regarding site characteristics and the installer’s system design proposal.
  7. Once the installer puts in the septic system, he/she must then request an inspection from the Health Department before any of the work is covered.

Note: The steps above should be carried out prior to any construction beginning on the property. This will allow the owner to find out the site’s limitations, get prices on possible systems and allow the property owner to meet related requirements enforced by the Health Department.

Steps to receive approval to repair or alter a septic system

  1. Contact a certified installer to propose corrections to the system.
  2. Complete a repair site evaluation form. (Word, PDF)
  3. Obtain a repair permit.

Requesting an inspection of an existing septic system

Existing septic systems may need to be inspected due to sale of the home, building addition, or rebuild of home after a natural disaster. If you are selling or purchasing a home, you can request an inspection of the existing septic system from the Health Department. Local building code offices require the Health Department to inspect an existing septic system prior to issuance of a building or remodeling permit. To request an inpsection, please complete the form (Word, PDF) and submit it with the required fee.

More information

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: A Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems

Kentucky regulations for septic systems (902 KAR 10:085)