Environmental - On-Site Sewage Facility Program
Victoria, Calhoun, and Dewitt counties are authorized agents of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality(TCEQ). The authorized agent is responsible for implementing and enforcing the rules adopted under the Texas Health & Safety Code - Chapter 366. Under the Texas H&S Code, Chapter 366, the authorized agent can impose and collect a permit fee for construction, installation, alteration, repair, or extension of on-site sewage disposal systems and impose penalties for a violation of Chapter 366 or a rule adopted under this chapter.
To fulfill this responsibility, the authorized agents have established an agreement with the Victoria County Public Health Department Environmental Services Division designating individuals, with a valid license, as designated representatives. The Environmental Services Division reviews permit applications, site evaluations, or planning materials, and conducts inspections on OSSF's. Title 30 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 285, establishes a regulatory program for the management of OSSF's including minimum standards for planning materials, construction, installation, alteration, repair, extension, operation, maintenance, permitting, and inspection of OSSF's
OSSF Application Process
The OSSF application process is as follows:
- Obtain a copy of the On-Site Sewage Facility Application Packet. The application packet contains detailed instructions on applying for an OSSF permit.
- Have a Soil and Site Evaluator, licensed by TCEQ, conduct a soil and site evaluation selected location to determine the type of OSSF system suitable for installation. Click on the link, Find On-Site Sewage Facilities Licensed Individuals - Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to locate a licensed soil and site evaluator.
- Locate an installer licensed by TCEQ to install the OSSF system, Click on the link, Find On-Site Sewage Facilities Licensed Individuals-Texas Commission on Environmental Quality , to locate a licensed installer. Note: a property owner may install their own system, as long as there is no compensation for hired help.
- Complete the OSSF application and submit it along with the additional paperwork (including soil and site evaluation, property survey, plat, scaled drawing etc.) outlined in the On-Site Sewage Facility Application Packet.
- Schedule an inspection of the OSSF system.
- Once the OSSF system has been inspected and is approved for operation, the system can be put in use.
- Routinely maintenance your OSSF and follow the guidelines provided in the Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems, or TOWA Septic System Maintenance.
Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for further information,
or call the Environmental Health Division at (361)578-6281.
Selecting an OSSF System
The site and soil conditions determine the type of OSSF system that can be installed. A soil and site evaluator, licensed through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), is required to conduct a soil and site evaluation of the proposed site. Site and soil conditions include the type of soil (sand, sandy clay, clay, etc.), seasonal water tables, and restrictive horizons. There are several different types of OSSF systems including conventional (pipe and gravel), low pressure dosing, aerobic treatment with surface irrigation, and aerobic treatment with drip emitters. To learn more about the different types of systems click on the links below.
The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Program provides low interest home improvement loans and grants. This program is commonly referred to as the Section 504 Program, and is designed for very-low-income individuals living in non-metropolitan areas. The objective of the USDA Rural Development 504 Program is to help very low income owners of modest single family homes repair those homes. Loan funds are available to improve or modernize a home, make it safer or more sanitary, or remove health and safety hazards. Click on the USDA RD Loan Eligibility Website for more information.
You may also contact the local USDA Rural Development office located at:
700 N. Wells Street, Suite 202
Edna, Texas 77957-2762
Q) How often should I pump my system?
A) It’s recommended to pump your system every 3-5 years. If you have a maintenance provider maintain your system, they should notify you via inspection report when pumping is required.
Q) Can I maintain my own system?
A) Check with the permitting agency. Rental, commercial, multi-family, and systems with a variance must have an ongoing maintenance contract. The owner of a single family dwelling may maintain their own system. Property owners are encouraged to contact a maintenance provider for training on their system.
Q) What do I do if my alarm is sounding?
A) If your alarm is sounding, your OSSF needs attention. We recommend you contact your maintenance provider and limit your water usage. The alarm may be temporarily silenced. Refer to your maintenance contract for the response time specified by your maintenance provider.
Q) Can I make my own repairs to my OSSF?
A) First contact the permitting agency before any repairs are made. A homeowner can make repairs from the home to the tank. Your drainfield cannot be repaired. Surfacing sewage above your drainfield is a good indicator that your drainfield is failing. Any work done to the drainfield requires the system to be brought up to current standards and may require a permit.
Q) How often do I need to add chlorine bleach to my system?
A) Depends on usage, but typically a gallon a month for a single family dwelling.
Q) Do I need a permit to install an OSSF on my property?
A) Yes, with the exception of the 10 acre rule. No planning materials, permit, or inspection are required for an OSSF for a single family dwelling located on a tract of land that is 10 acres or larger and 1) the OSSF is not causing a nuisance or polluting groundwater; 2) all parts of the OSSF are at least 100 feet from the property line; 3) the effluent is disposed of on the property; and 4) the single family dwelling is the only dwelling located on that tract of land.
Q) Can I install my own system?
A) A homeowner will be required to follow the permitting process for an OSSF installed for their single family residence. No one can be compensated for any part of the labor while constructing. Construction cannot begin until the approval to construct has been granted from the permitting authority. After the inspection and the approval to operate has been granted, the system can be used. If a maintenance contract is required, the first two years must be done by a licensed maintenance provider. An owner cannot install a system for multi-family or commercial/rental property. A financial institution may require an approval to operate from the homeowner prior to closing on the loan.