Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
About On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems:
A septic system or on-site wastewater treatment system (OWTS) is a self contained, underground wastewater treatment system utilized in areas of the county where public sewer service is not available. An OWTS typically includes a watertight tank that receives wastewater from the home plumbing system and is then discharged to a soil treatment area where the effluent is filtered and treated by the soil before reaching drinking water well sources or surface water.
On-site wastewater treatment systems in Clear Creek County are regulated by the local public health agency per the Clear Creek County Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Regulations. These regulations are effective in all areas of Clear Creek County - including incorporated areas.
State Regulation #43 sets the standard and minimum regulatory requirements that all local laws must be at least as stringent as. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, Water Quality Control Division are responsible for the approval of all septic tanks, proprietary distribution products and higher level treatment systems.
Permits for Construction
State and County laws require that a permit be issued by the local health department prior to constructing, altering, repairing or upgrading an OWTS.
- Major Construction Permit ($1,023): 2 or more major components of an OWTS are being installed replaced, repaired or upgraded.
- Minor Construction Permit ($600): 1 major component only is being installed, replaced, repaired or upgraded.
A major component is defined as a significant component essential to the proper function of the OWTS; a major component may include, but is not limited to a septic tank, dosing tank, soil treatment area, higher level treatment component, etc.
- A soils evaluation must be completed by your design engineer prior to applying for the OWTS permit. The soils test will consist the excavation of at least two soil test pits dug in the area of the proposed soil treatment area. The soils test pits must remain open for inspection by Clear Creek County as part of the permit process. To prevent accidents or injury, secure the opening of the test pit with fencing, stakes, or other appropriate measures. Soils evaluations must be completed by a person who has met the requirements of §5.7 of the Clear Creek County OWTS Regulations.
- A completed OWTS Application Form must be submitted. A copy of the soils evaluation, design document, site plan, design plan must be submitted. All designs submitted in Clear Creek County must be stamped by a Colorado Licensed Professional Engineer.
- Once all application forms and materials are ready they may be submitted online via email to EH@clearcreekcounty.us or by dropping them off at 1111 Rose Street, Georgetown, CO 80444. Payment must be remitted at the time of submittal. We accept all major credit cards, checks, money orders and cash. There is a service fee for payments made by credit cards. If you are submitting electronically, DO NOT PROVIDE CREDIT CARD NUMBERS VIA EMAIL OR LEAVE THEM ON A VOICEMAIL. Upon receiving your application, you will be contacted by the Department to collect payment over the phone.
- After a complete submittal has been accepted and all payments have been remitted, your permit will begin the review process. Initial review includes a site evaluation and review of the engineering documents and proposal. Initial review and Site Evaluation typically take place 2-3 weeks after a submittal has been accepted. Once plans are approved a permit may be issued. Revisions required to the engineering, or seasonal conditions preventing adequate evaluation of soil and groundwater may create a longer turn around time.
- Prior to a permit being released you must have notified the Department of which Licensed System Installer will be constructing the system. Anyone in the business of installing or constructing any part of an OWTS must hold a valid OWTS System Installer License with Clear Creek County.
- You must have an an issued, or previously approved and finaled Driveway Permit on file prior to the OWTS permit being issued.
Other Permit Types for OWTS
Use Permits for Transfer of Title
Clear Creek County laws require that prior to the transfer of land where an OWTS is utilized for wastewater treatment, a Use Permit must be obtained. For information on how to obtain a Use Permit please see the information found on the Use Permit page.
Operating Permits for Higher Level Treatment Systems
State and County laws require that a permit be issued by the local health department whenever a system utilizes higher level treatment to receive permitted reductions in soil treatment area sizing, vertical separation distances to limiting layers or reductions in horizontal separation distances. For more information on if your system would require an Operating Permit please see the information found on the Operating Permit page.
Clear Creek County requires that any person engaged in the business of installing, constructing, altering or repairing an OWTS hold a valid Systems Installer License issued by the Clear Creek Environmental Health Department to demonstrate knowledge of applicable regulations. Licensed Systems Installers work closely with the Design Engineer in making sure your system is installed correctly and timely.
Property owners may become licensed to do work on their own OWTS. Homeowner installers are only licensed to perform one project per calendar year and are only permitted to do work on a system they own.
To obtain a license to install you must take the Colorado OWTS Installer Part A Exam. This exam may be administered by Clear Creek County, or if a contractor has passed this exam in another county it is admissible in Clear Creek County.
The applicable license fee will need to be paid prior to obtaining a copy of the exam or prior to review of previous exam material from another county is accepted. A passing grade of at least 75% is required to obtain the license. The license exam is open regulation and a link to the regulation will be provided at the time the exam is administered.
The license is valid for one year for commercial companies and may be renewed prior to expiration for a fee of $50. Homeowner Installers may only receive a one time license and may not be permitted to do work on other projects.
- Section 17 - Licensed Systems Installers and Homeowner Installer
- Contractors, Cleaners and Engineers Info Page
- Licensed Systems Installer License Application Form
Construction Permit Inspections
Inspections are required to be conducted by the Clear Creek County Environmental Health Department during the construction process. Your permit and the local regulations will specify what inspections are required in order to proceed with installation.
Generally, the following inspections are required, but you should refer to your permit for specific details:
- Open Hole Inspection: After excavation of soil treatment area and location of tanks and prior to installation of any components.
- Component Inspection: After placement of sand, laterals, chambers/gravel, sewer lines and any tanks, and prior to back-fill.
A copy of your sand gradation is required PRIOR to this inspection occurring if your design calls for use of sand media.
- Final Grading Inspection: After all components have been back-filled and the site has been graded and reseeded.
** TO REQUEST AN OWTS INSPECTION PLEASE CALL: (303) 670-7535 **
Inspections must be called in a minimum of 24 hours in advance and there is no guarantee that an inspection will occur on the following business day due to staffing. It is recommended that inspections are scheduled in advance to ensure that project delays do not occur.