Font Size:

Onsite Sewage Disposal

Alabama State Law requires homeowners and businesses not connected to a public sanitary sewer, to obtain a permit from the local health department prior to installing a new system or making repairs to an existing onsite system. Below are the basic steps to take prior to installing an onsite sewage system:

Step 1: Evaluate Site Early

Some lots are not suitable for onsite sewage disposal systems, therefore a registered professional (land surveyor, soil classifier, or engineer) should be contacted to evaluate the lot and design a sewage disposal system for the proposed building. Hire a professional that you can work with - the successful design of your sewage system depends on being able to communicate with the system designer.

(Note: Only registered engineers are permitted to design systems with soil percolation rate greater than 60 minutes or on locations with a shallow limiting zone such as groundwater, clay or bedrock).

The registered professional will perform the required soil and site evaluation and design a sewage disposal system based on those results. You should receive the test results recorded on a permit application form and a plot plan (design drawing) for the proposed system.

Step 2: Apply for a Permit to Install

Complete and sign the owner/applicant information on the permit application form received from the professional that evaluated the site. Submit the application fee and below enclosures to:

Montgomery County Health Department
Environmental Division
3060 Mobile Highway
Montgomery, Alabama 36108

Be sure to enclose two sets of the following:
1. Completed permit application form
2. Plot plan

A health department environmentalist will review the application, soil test results and calculations. The "Permit to Install" will be issued to the applicant after all state regulations have been met.

(Note: It is recommended that application to the health department be made as soon as you receive the application and plot plan. If the professional's markers for the test holes are disturbed before the health department reviews them, you may have to pay the professional to re-stake the proposed site.)

Step 3: System Installation

Contact a licensed installer to install the system, providing the installer with the "Permit to Install."

(Note: Designed systems require installation by experts with advanced licenses. You may want to seek recommendations from your engineer to locate skilled installers familiar with that engineer's designs)

Call the health department prior to beginning the installation to schedule an inspection. The health department will issue an "Approval for Use" before the building can be occupied.

The Environmental Health Division has video tapes available for viewing entitled "Maintaining Your Septic Tank System," developed by the Jefferson County Health Department. Call 293-6452 for information on obtaining a tape.

For the complete Onsite Sewage Disposal Rules on construction and operation, go to the Laws and Regulations.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021