Use Permit Inspections
Call Snowbridge to inspect your septic system for a continued "Use Permit"
The life expectancy of a Septic System, also known as an Onsite Wastewater System (OWS), is about 30 years. Many of the Onsite Wastewater Systems in the County are approaching or exceed this threshold.
With 10% of systems found to be malfunctioning during property transfer inspections, the Summit County Board of Health has passed a new law. Effective January 1, 2009, ALL properties with an OWS are REQUIRED to obtain a Use Permit at the point of sale and/or when undergoing a major remodel.
This law is a beneficial tool to the Environmental Health Department in detecting malfunctioning Onsite Wastewater Systems with the purpose of keeping the County’s ground water supply safe. It also benefits both the buyer and seller involved in a property transaction. The buyer benefits by knowing that the system has been inspected and necessary corrections have been made. The seller benefits by having the condition of the system documented for prospective buyers.
Snowbridge Roto-Rooter is a certified National Association of Wastewater Transporters (NAWT) inspector. We are one of the few companies who are approved by Summit County as qualified to conduct these inspections.
Common Questions and Answers:
What is a Use Permit?
A document issued by the Environmental Health Department approving the continued use of an existing OWS.
When do I need to get a Use Permit?
A Use Permit is required at the transfer of any property that has one or more active Onsite Wastewater System. There are some exceptions: 1) the system is less than 5 years old, 2) the system was installed yet never connected to the structure and so has never been used, or 3) major repairs are needed and the buyer has obtained a repair permit for the repairs and agreed in writing to complete the repairs by a given date.
Why was this regulation passed?
Unlike a leaking roof, which only affects the owners of the home, a failing OWS pollutes surface and ground water. This affects the whole community. The average lifespan of an OWS is about 30 years and so we are beginning to see a large number of systems in our county failing. The board approved this law because of the environmental and public health impacts of a malfunctioning OWS.
How long is a Use Permit Valid?
A Use Permit expires 12 months after the date it was issued.
Is the process going to delay closing?
The goal of the EH department is not to delay closings. Denial of a Use Permit will be reserved for systems that are polluting the environment and those that are lacking required alarm systems or maintenance contracts where required. EH has a commitment of processing Use Permits within 7-10 days of receiving the Inspection Report from Snowbridge Roto-Rooter. In the event a Use Permit is denied the buyer will need to obtain a repair permit for repairing the system and sign a statement agreeing to complete the repairs by a given date. A letter will then be issued by the EH department noting that a Use Permit is not needed so the closing can take place.
Can you really inspect an OWS in the winter?
Although significant snow cover can make the inspection more challenging, most of it can be inspected during winter months just as the summer months. A tank can still be inspected completely, and inspectors are required to probe and/or dig into the soils of the field with or without snow cover. Inspecting an OWS during the winter may not be as effective as inspecting during the summer but it is far more effective than not inspecting at all. Either way the inspection provides valuable information to the homeowner and EH department on how well the system is functioning.