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COUNTY OF MONTEREY

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Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (Septic System) Permits

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Information about OWTS (Septic Systems)

Conventional & Alternative OWTS (Septic Systems)

Conventional OWTS (Septic System)

A conventional gravity flow septic system consists of a series of tanks or a compartmented tank followed by a drainfield. The septic tanks are used to settle out solids and partially treat wastewater before it reaches the subsurface drainfield. Certain areas may not be suitable for conventional systems; for example, areas with nearby nutrient-sensitive waters, high densities of existing conventional systems, highly permeable or shallow soils, shallow water tables, large rocks or confining layers, and poorly drained soils.

Alternative OWTS (Supplemental Treatment System)

Alternative OWTS are used in areas where conventional OWTS cannot provide adequate treatment of wastewater effluent due to site constraints. Supplemental systems feature components and processes designed to promote degradation and/or treatment of wastes through biological processes, oxidation/reduction reactions, filtration, evapotranspiration, and other processes. Some examples of Alternative (supplemental) OWTS include mound systems, fixed-film contact units, wetlands, aerobic treatment units, and low-pressure drip applications.

Currently, Monterey County does not have authority to issue permits for new Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, only for repairs to existing OWTS. Monterey County is in the process of drafting a Local Agency Management Program for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (LAMP) that will subsequently allow Alternative OWTS to be utilized for new construction. The use of Alternative OWTS as the basis for demonstrating onsite wastewater disposal feasibility will not be allowed.

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