Sewage Program

The MOVHD Sewage Program includes permitting and inspection of on-site, sub-surface sewage disposal fields. When the program began in July of 1970, pipe and gravel systems were state-of-the-art. In the last 35 years, the number of sewage disposal methodologies has increased. In addition, the science behind these disposal methods has become more specific and intricate.

WV Sewage Regulations have various requirements for lots seeking an on-site, sub-surface system. These may vary based on lot size, date the property was created, and the type of establishment to be served. However, in all cases, percolation tests are required in evaluating the property.

For a homeowner to do a perc test or to install their own system, they must take and pass the “Homeowner’s Exam.” This test is open book and can be taken at any of our 6 county offices. The fee for this exam is $50 per attempt, and we ask that you call and let the office assistant know you are planning to do this at least 1 business day before.

If you plan to have someone else install your system, they must be a “Certified Sewage System Installer” licensed by the State of West Virginia. The names and phone numbers of these individuals can be found through this site, SEWAGE SYSTEM INSTALLERS

What Is a Soil Percolation (Perc) Test?

* This is a test to evaluate the ability of the ground to absorb water.
* It is a representation of how the absorption field will perform.

How Do I Conduct a Perc Test?

* In the area of the proposed installation, you will need four (4) test holes.
* The hole locations are to be separated over the entire area.
* The holes need to be:

  • 6” to 8” in diameter and 24” in depth
  • Scrape the interior and remove any loose dirt
  • Put 2” of coarse sand or gravel in the hole
  • Place a nail in the sidewall 6” above the sand or gravel

*Fill the holes with water and maintain the water level above the nail for 4 hours
* Adjust the water level to the nail (6 inches of water)
* Time how long it takes EACH hole to TOTALLY drain its 6” of water
* Report the time on the SS-182 Application Form

What Is a 6 Foot Bore Hole?

* This is an excavation to determine the depth to rock and water
* On relatively level ground, the hole is located in the center of the 4 perc test holes
* On sloping ground, the hole is located at the lowest proposed trench
* Report the results on the SS-182 Application Form

What Happens Now?

* Upon completion, the SS-182 Application Form may be submitted to the local health department office
* The sanitarian will conduct a ‘site visit’ to evaluate the property for permit
* The fee for permit for septic systems
* The fee for septic tank registration is $30.00 (This is a Division of Environmental Protection Fee)
* Subdivision permit fee, if applicable, is based on the number of lots being evaluated for development
* After installation, contact the health department for a final inspection of the system

What Should I Do If I Have Questions?

* Should you have any questions or encounter problems at any point, contact the sanitarian

The WV Sewage Regulations also address ‘subdivisions’. While the term has multiple meanings in different circumstances, the Sewage Regulations define a subdivision as follows:

“A tract of land which has been divided into two (2) or more lots, tracts, parcels, plats, sites, areas, units, interests or other division for the purpose of dwelling or establishment development and including the division of land by deed, metes and bounds description, lease, map, plat or other instrument, or by act of construction.” Sewage System Rules, 64 CSR 9 Effective May 1, 1998

In essence, all lots are subdivisions by this definition. Further, it is the responsibility of the “creator” of the lot(s) to apply for subdivision approval from the health department. Since July 1, 1970, there have been requirements in obtaining this approval. Changes to the Sewage Regulations have been accompanied by changes in the subdivision approval requirements. Outlined below is the current MOVHD procedure, based on the State Office of Environmental Health Services guidance:


* Lots created before May 12, 1983

  • If > 2 acres, must have a suitable original installation and replacement area
  • If < 2 acres, must have suitable 10,000 ft sq reserve area for standard system

* Lots created on or after May 12, 1983:

  • If > 2 acres, must have suitable 10,000 sq ft reserve area for standard or alternative system
  • If < 2 acres, must have suitable 10,000 sq ft reserve area for standard system

* “Responsible Person” – Person that “created” the lot(s)

  • Responsible for obtaining MOVHD Subdivision Approval

* If “Responsible Person” IS NOT the Current Owner of the lot(s):

  • Go back one (1) owner prior to Current Owner to establish “Responsible Person”
  • If this produces the “Responsible Person”, they must make the subdivision application.
  • If this DOES NOT produce the “Responsible Person”:
    + Current Owner is responsible for research to determine “Responsible Person”, OR
    + Current Owner can be accepted as “Responsible Person” seeking approval

* If “Responsible Person” IS NOT the Current Owner and refuses to obtain required subdivision approval:

  • Current Owner can be accepted as “Responsible Person” obtaining subdivision approval

* If actual “Responsible Person” IS the Current Owner and refuses to obtain required approval:

  • No Subdivision Approval can be issued
  • No Septic Tank Installation Permit can be issued

* Lot evaluations based on perc tests, six foot hole and required reserve area based on May 1983 date
* One (1) lot subdivision > 2 acres created on or before December 31, 2005 :

  • Will not require Subdivision Fee

* Effective January 1, 2006 – All lots requiring Subdivision Approval will require the appropriate fee
* Current Owner may install system upon passage of applicable examination.
* Subdivision Fee Approval Schedule (as currently approved in the Fees for Permit Rule)

  • 1 – 5 Lots $ 62.50
  • 6 – 10 Lots $100.00
  • 11 – 18 Lots $10.00 per site (max)
  • 19 and over $187.50

If you have any questions regarding the Subdivision Approval requirements or process, contact the Sanitarian at your local health department office here.

Office Hours: 8:00 to 4:00    Monday through Friday

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