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Permitting Guidelines for Fire Damaged Septic Systems

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Find out what type of septic system repair and replacement requires a permit and what type does not require a permit for properties impacted by the major wildfires within Sonoma County.

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Permit Not Required

By the authority of the Chief Building Official (SCC 7-13 (A)(6), CPC, work performed by the property owner or a qualified professional to repair or replace fire damaged septic system components listed below in-kind does not require a permit from Permit Sonoma. "In-kind" means the same or similar part (material, dimension, etc.) that existed prior to the fire.

A qualified professional is a Civil Engineer, Environmental Health Specialist, or Contractor with “A”, “C-36” or “C-42” license. Qualified professionals must be currently licensed or registered in the State of California.

Septic System repair and replacement work that does not require a permit from Permit Sonoma:

  • Lids or covers for the following: septic tanks, sump tanks, pretreatment units, distribution boxes, valve boxes, monitoring wells, etc.
  • Plastic materials (risers, lids, covers, etc.).
  • Effluent filters.
  • Sanitary inlet and outlet tees.
  • Valve boxes (balancing, purge, & diversion).
  • Valves (balancing, purge, diversion, & air release).
  • Clean outs.
  • Monitoring wells.
  • Distribution boxes.
  • Sump tank components (pumps, piping, floats set per original design specifications, etc.).
  • Minor cracks in septic tanks or sump tanks.
  • Transmission lines from dwellings to septic tanks.
  • Transmission lines from septic tanks to distribution boxes or diversion valves.
  • Hydrojetting lines to remove blockages in order to correct or improve system function.

Property owners are ultimately responsible for the proper function and performance of their septic systems and are strongly encouraged to seek assistance from qualified professionals prior to repairing or replacing septic system components.

While permits are not required to repair or replace septic system components in-kind listed above, property owners are highly advised to keep detailed records of work performed on their septic systems for future permitting, rebuilding, remodeling, and re-occupancy purposes.

Property owners with septic systems in Permit Sonoma’s Operational Permit (OPR) program will be required to disclose and report work performed on their septic systems with their next self-monitoring form submission.

Permit Required

Work to repair or replace septic system components listed below does require a permit from Permit Sonoma:

  • Entire septic systems.
  • Portions of or entire disposal fields (Drainfields, Leach fields, seepage pits, dispersal areas, distribution lines, etc.)
  • Septic tanks.
  • Sump tanks.
  • Pretreatment units.
  • Control panels (in-kind or better than original design specifications), electrical sub-panels, alarms, blowers, or any other electrical components. Electrical permits are required to replace these electrical features but a separate septic permit is not required.

Non-Standard Septic Systems

The County of Sonoma has or will be evaluating properties enrolled in the County’s non-standard septic system operational permit program (OPR Program) to determine if those properties were affected by the 2017 or 2019 fires. Those affected will be eligible for prorated refunds. Learn More