News & Information


Approval received for Local Agency Management Program for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems

Post Date:05/11/2018

The Monterey County Health Department, Environmental Health Bureau (EHB), has received approval of their Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS, also called septic systems).  The LAMP details new regulations and site evaluation requirements that will be applied to any OWTS (septic system) permit issued on or after May 11, 2018.  The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the program on April 3rd and it was subsequently approved by the Central Coast Water Board on May 10, 2018.lamp cover


The LAMP was developed in response to the State Water Resources Control Boards's OWTS Policy.  The primary goals of the OWTS policy are to improve protection of groundwater, surface water and public health by assigning minimum standards for OWTS.  The restrictive standards in Tier 1 of the OWTS Policy apply throughout California unless the local jurisdictions prepared a LAMP (Tier 2), essentially customizing the requirements to take local geology and OWTS practices into consideration, and also authorizing the use of alternative (supplemental) treatment systems when a conventional septic tank and leachfield system are not suitable for use based on site or soil conditions.  Monterey County EHB issued a draft in May 2016 and held 7 public meetings with OWTS stakeholders throughout the past 2 years that resulted in the approved LAMP.  The EHB will enforce the requirements and intent of the LAMP immediately.  However, minor clarifications and adjustments to the LAMP are anticipated during the first few months of implementation; therefore, Monterey County Code, Chapter 15.20 (Sewage Disposal) will not be formally amended for another 12-18 months.



A copy of the approved LAMP and a summary of the changes it will invoke, compared to the previous  OWTS rules and regulations, is available at:


Important notes:

  •  Conventional OWTS (septic tank and rock-filled lechfield) will continue to be utilized as the preferred method of onsite wastewater disposal.
  • Alternative OWTS with supplemental treatment will only be required when site and/or soil conditions are not suitable to provide adequate treatment of wastewater.
  • Septic tank pumper reports will be furnished to EHB by liquid waste haulers whenever they conduct a septic tank pump out.  EHB will utilize this information to identify regional trends, such as incidences of seasonally high groundwater, and as an evaluation tool when an OWTS is proposed to receive additional wastewater (i.e. during review of a construction permit).  EHB does not intend to use these reports as an enforcement tool, unless it identifies an imminent threat to groundwater, surface water or public health.


For additional information, contact Ms. Nicki Fowler, Supervisor of the Environmental Health Review Services team in EHB at (831) 755-4584 or by email at

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