Many residents of Putnam County utilize individual home sewage disposal systems since sanitary sewers are not accessible to all parts of the county. PCHD staff work hard to ensure that sewage disposal systems function properly and do not compromise drinking and ground water quality.
Before a sewage permit can be issued, the soil on the property must be evaluated to determine the acceptability for a septic tank/soil absorption field sewage system. A percolation (perc) test is the first step. Perk tests are conducted to determine the suitability of a site to accept wastewater discharge from a septic system. Once a landowner has submitted an application, a sanitarian will contact the landowner and/or the certified septic installer to set a meeting on the property to evaluate the perc test and six foot hole. Many factors determine the best location for the septic system, such as soil structure, the distance to ground water or rock, the topography of the land, and the future location of the home and utilities. Once the system has been installed, an inspection is conducted to insure the system was installed properly prior to covering the sewage system.
This program also includes evaluation of property splits where subdivisions are created. Lots that are not accessible to a public sewage system must be evaluated and found acceptable for private sewage disposal before a septic system will be approved.
The sewage program provides technical assistance and rule interpretation for conventional and non-conventional on-site sewage systems. Non-conventional systems include home aeration systems, low pressure dosing systems, holding tanks and re-circulating sand filters. These “alternative systems” are used when a conventional system such as a septic tank has failed and cannot be repaired by conventional means. “Alternative systems” may also be considered for new construction on lots two acres or larger in size.
The PCHD also issues permits for residential type waste water systems with surface water discharges which are 600 gallons/day or less and which qualify for an N.P.D.E.S. permit. To maximize the useful life of a septic system and prevent premature failure, all systems need proper care and periodic maintenance. A list of class I and II certified septic installers can be found on the WVDHHR Public Health Sanitation web site.