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Monterey County Local Agency Management Program (LAMP)

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Published on November 10, 2016. Last modified on March 23, 2020

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PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO MONTEREY COUNTY CODE, CHAPTER 15.20, SEWAGE DISPOSAL (DOWNLOAD: CLEAN.PDF, REDLINE.PDF) The Monterey County Health Department, Environmental Health Bureau, has prepared a draft amendment to the local sewage disposal ordinance to further implement the goals, objectives and requirements specified by the Monterey County Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS). Monterey County prepared and obtained approval of the LAMP in 2018 in order to avoid the one-size-fits-all standard prescribed by TIER 1 of the State Onsite Wastewater Policy adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board in 2012. The LAMP provides local designers, installers and regulators additional flexibility when designing, installing and permitting OWTS while still ensuring the goals of the State OWTS Policy are met. This proposed amendment to local code updates the standards and specifications for conventional OWTS (typically, a septic tank and rock-filled leachfield), and includes the following additional programs:

Alternative OWTS – Section 15.20.075
Septic Tank Pumper Reporting – Section 15.20.036
Qualified Professional Registration – Section 15.20.065
Operating Permits – Sections 15.20.075.C and 15.20.076

SAVE THE DATE – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, 2020 from 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Location: Health Dept, 1270 Natividad Road, 1st Floor Whitney Rooms

The Monterey County Health Department, Environmental Health Bureau (EHB) will host a public workshop on February 24th to present and receive comments on proposed amendments to Monterey County Code, Chapter 15.20, Sewage Disposal. A secondary public meeting will be held in late April, time/date TBD.  

Questions or comments may be directed to Ms. Nicki Fowler at (831) 755-4584 or fowlerne@co.monterey.ca.us.

MAY 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.

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: www.MtyHD.org/LAMP

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 fowlerne@co.monterey.ca.us.

LAMP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

LAMP on the Radio - Febraury 24, 2018 (KION 1460 AM)

LAMP Informational Meeting - February 7, 2018

Summary of Revised Draft LAMP

Previous Drafts:   May 13, 2016
                         May 5, 2017 (Revised through Section 5.10 only)
                         June 21, 2017

LAMP Overview
Monterey County has drafted a Local Agency Management Program (“LAMP”) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (“OWTS”, also commonly called septic systems). In June 2012, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the OWTS Policy, intended to increase protection of water quality and public health in California by establishing uniform regulations for OWTS that apply throughout the state. The LAMP has been developed in accordance with Tier 2 of the Water Quality Control Policy for Siting, Design, Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (“OWTS Policy”), to provide local designers, installers and regulators more flexibility when designing, installing and permitting OWTS while still ensuring the goals of the OWTS Policy, adopted by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Central Coast Water Board”), can be met. The LAMP will supplement Monterey County Code, Chapter 15.20, Sewage Disposal, and calls for it to be updated to conform to the LAMP once it is approved by the Board of Supervisors (on or about May 2018). The LAMP does not require changes to existing, properly functioning OWTS. New OWTS and repairs, expansions or replacement of existing OWTS will be required to meet the requirements of the LAMP. Existing OWTS that are found to clearly degrade groundwater or surface water quality or could otherwise contribute to public health impacts may also require upgrade or replacement. Here is a list of some of the changes proposed by the LAMP, compared to current County standards:

  • Specifies more comprehensive site evaluation requirements (including groundwater monitoring borings, soil profile analysis and for new systems, percolation testing)
  • Limits the depth of dispersal fields
  • Limits the use of seepage pits
  • Requires septic tank pumpers to submit a report on every septic tank pump out within Monterey County
  • Allows consideration for an alternative OWTS if a property is so constrained (for example, high groundwater, shallow soils or slow-percolating soils) that a conventional OWTS (septic tank and gravity disposal field) cannot be installed


Technical Advisory Committee (Public Stakeholder) Meeting

The EHB will host a final LAMP stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, February 7th from 4-6pm, at the Monterey County Health Department in Salinas; this meeting is open to the public. Due to the limited duration of the meeting and in an effort to ensure that all comments are received, we respectfully request that they be submitted in writing in advance of the meeting. Questions or comments about the LAMP or requests to participate in the TAC should be directed to Nicki Fowler,fowlerne@co.monterey.ca.us or (831) 755-4584.

TAC Meetings
Monterey County Health Department (1270 Natividad Road, Salinas 93906)
Date Time Topic
February 7, 2018
4-6 PM Final Draft LAMP
June 21, 2017
4-6 PM Remaining Sections
May 17, 2017
4-6 PM
Revisions to Draft LAMP dated May 13, 2016
  • Section 0 – Definitions
  • Section 1 – Introduction
  • Section 2 – Project Area
  • Section 3 – Water Quality Monitoring Program
  • Section 4 – Requirements for Existing OWTS
  • Section 5 – Requirements for New OWTS
  • Subsections 5.1 – 5.10 only
December 14, 2016
November 16, 2016
4-6 PM
October 19, 2016
4-6 PM
 Other sections
September 21, 2016 4-6 PM

  Section 6: Special Areas of Concern

August 17, 2016
4-6 PM   Section 5: Requirements for New OWTS
July 20, 2016
4-6 PM   Section 4: Requirements for Existing OWTS

Environmental Review

The EHB intends to pursue a Notice of Determination indicating that the Monterey County LAMP meets or exceeds the level of environmental protection afforded by the State OWTS Policy, as evaluated in the Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Policy Final Substitute Environmental Document, approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on June 19, 2012.

LAMP Approval Process

The Final LAMP is tentatively scheduled to be considered for approval by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The Monterey County LAMP is tentatively scheduled to be considered for adoption by the Central Coast RWQCB on May 10, 2018 in San Luis Obispo.

Effective Date of New Onsite Wastewater (Septic System) Regulations

If the LAMP is approved by RWQCB on May 10, 2018, it will become effective immediately. That means that pending OWTS permits (i.e. not issued or approved) will be subject to the requirements of the LAMP. However, if the LAMP is not approved during the Central Coast RWQCB’s May 2018 meeting, the restrictive standards specified by Tier 1 of the State OWTS Policy will become effective days later on May 13, 2018.

The Tier 1 standards will remain effective until the Central Coast RWQCB approves the Monterey County LAMP. The Central Coast RWQCB convenes on/in the following dates/places:

  • June 28 – Santa Barbara
  • September 20 – Watsonville
  • December 6 – San Luis Obispo


Estimated Timeline for LAMP Approval
January 24, 2018           Revised Draft LAMP, dated 01/24/2018 released for public review
February 7, 2018           LAMP Stakeholder Meeting at Health Department
April 3, 2018 (tentative)  Final LAMP at Board of Supervisors for Approval
May 10, 2018                Final LAMP at Central Coast RWQCB (San Luis Obispo) for Adoption

Note, the Tier 1 Standards of the OWTS Policy become effective on May 13, 2018 if Monterey County does not have an RWQCB-approved LAMP in place.

Draft LAMP Submittal to Central Coast Water Board
A draft LAMP was submitted to the Central Coast Water Board on May 13, 2016. They responded with written comments in March 2017 and since that time Monterey County has been working to revise the draft to address their comments and those submitted from the public.
  • Draft LAMP (revision date May 13, 2016)(revision date May 13, 2016)
  • Cover Letter
  • Board of Supervisors authorization to submit Draft LAMP (May 10, 2016) (May 10, 2016)

Common Acronyms

  • EHB means Environmental Health Bureau, Monterey County Health Department
  • LAMP means Local Agency Management Program (“LAMP”) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • OWTS means Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • TAC means Technical Advisory Committee
State OWTS Policy
Water Quality Control Plan for Siting, Design, Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems by State Water Resources Control Board dated June 19, 2012

OWTS Policy Website


Current Local OWTS Regulations

Monterey County Code, Chapter 15.20

Public Information Meeting

The Monterey County EHB held a series of informational meetings in June 2016 to provide the public with an overview of the State OWTS Policy, the LAMP and projected changes to OWTS design, installation and permit requirements.

Watch a video of the June 22, 2016 meeting: Salinas LAMP Info Meeting (21 minutes)


View the presentation: LAMP Info Meeting PowerPoint slides


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