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Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (Septic System) Permits

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Published on November 10, 2016. Last modified on April 07, 2020

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OWTS Professionals and COVID-19: Essentials Operations and Recommendations for How to Operate During a Pandemic

It is important that OWTS operations that will mitigate other public health hazards, such as surfacing sewage, continue during the Shelter in Place order.  However, maintain the personal safety of operators is paramount.  Please practice social distancing and use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.  Please review the information included in the links below:

Environmental Health Bureau (EHB) staff are limiting our field activity to emergency response only and are working remotely to the extent practical.   However, the EHB office is currently open for business at 1270 Natividad Road, Salinas, 93906.  Please continue to submit replacement OWTS application materials as normal.  If an OWTS installation is proposed to begin, please notify EHB staff via the online web portal.  If your installation is authorized to commence, please plan to take photos throughout the entire installation and prepare comprehensive as-built of to document the installation.  You may also leave a message for EHRS staff at the numbers below or contact the EHB front counter at (831) 755-4505 to speak with an Office Support team member.

Contact Information

Contact Position Phone E-mail

Ric Encarnacion

Assistant Director



Nicole Fowler

Supervising Environmental Health Specialist



Matt Krenz

Environmental Health Specialist III



Bryan Escamilla

Environmental Health Specialist III
Bryan is currently out of the office on an
extended leave. For assistance, please
contact Ms. Rachel Rodrigues at 831-755-4557



Rachel Rodrigues

Environmental Health Specialist II



Connor Cappi

Environmental Health Specialist Trainee



Michael Ogunbodede

Environmental Health Specialist Trainee



Proposed Amendment

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

Information about OWTS (Septic Systems)

Document Description

Frequently Asked Questions

List of Frequently asked questions

Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP) Development

Information about the Local Agency Management Program (“LAMP”) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems in Monterey County

Carmel Highlands Onsite Wastewater Management Plan

The Environmental Health Bureau is currently evaluating onsite wastewater in the Carmel Highlands based on the intent of the OWMP and plans to return to the Board of Supervisors to recommend approval of amendments to County code as prescribed by the OWMP. See this page for supporting documents.

OWTS Maintenance Tips: Food Facilities

This is a brief overview of septic systems and what is needed for them to work for a long time.

OWTS Homeowner’s Guide

Your septic tank and/or drainfield was a substantial investment that should last for decades if it is used properly and maintained regularly. Its life can be extended significantly if you follow a few simple guidelines

Wet Weather Soils Testing

Information about Wet Weather Soil Testing in Monterey County -Measuring Depth to Groundwater

Local OWTS Regulations (Monterey County Code)

Link to online Local OWTS Regulations (Monterey County Code)

Online Contractor Notification For Start of OWTS Installation

Notify the Environmental Health Department when starting an OWTS Installation


List of Fees in regards to OWTS

Qualified Professionals

Information about the minimum professional qualifications necessary for an individual or entity to complete each phase of the OWTS design and installation process.

OWTS Qualified Professionals and Installers List

List of OWTS Qualified Professionals and Installers

Soils and Percolation Testing for New Development

A comprehensive site and soil evaluation is an essential piece of information to design an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS, or septic system) that will function for years to come and ensure that groundwater and nearby surface waterways are protected from potential contamination.

Watertight Tank Testing Methodology

New and replacement septic tanks and pump chambers must be approved for use in Monterey County and conform to the Monterey County Environmental Health Bureau (EHB) Local Agency Management Program for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems

Watertight Tank Certification Form

Certification form for Watertight Tank Certification

OWTS Soil Boring/Monitoring Well

Document Description
OWTS Monitoring Well Permit Destruction/Construction Application
Application for OWTS monitoring well destruction, construction. One application per well.

Maintenance and Home Owner’s Guide

Document Description

English / Español

Homeowners Guide English / Una guía sobre los sistemas sépticos para propietarios de casas

English / Español

Home-buyers Guide English / Guía sobre sistemas sépticos para compradores de casa

English / Español

Dos and Don’ts for an Advanced Treatment Unit (ATU) / Qué hacer y qué no hacer con la Unidad de Tratamiento Avanzado

OWTS and Emergencies/ Natural Disasters

Document Description

OWTS and Power Outages

Information about what to do when there is a power outage.

OWTS Flooding Information

General Information about what to do after a flood concerning your OWTS

OWTS Evaluation After Fire

This document contains scenarios that attempt to summarize what actions will likely need to be taken before the Environmental Health Bureau can approve construction permits after a fire

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.

Septic Tank Pumping and Inspection Reporting

Section 4.1 of the Monterey County LAMP requires a liquid waste hauler to submit a report to Monterey County for each septic tank pumping job completed within the County using an approved form.  One form shall be completed for each septic tank that is pumped out and shall be mailed, faxed or emailed to EHB, no later than 10 business days after the end of the month that the job occurred.  The EHB will begin to enforce this reporting requirement on March 16, 2020 for pump-outs completed during the month of February 2020.  Reports may be submitted by any of these 3 methods:

Monterey County Environmental Health
c/o Septic Tank Pumping Reports
1270 Natividad Road, Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 796-8680

Questions should be directed to Mr. Matt Krenz, Senior REHS, by phone at (831) 755-4724 or via email at krenzmt@co.monterey.ca.us.

Septic Tank Pumping and Inspection Report Form 

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