Summit County Septic Program
Wastewater Program Information
Summit County’s Wastewater (septic) Program protects public health by making sure that wastewater systems work properly. It is important that sewage does not leak onto the ground or into groundwater sources. We make sure that wastewater systems are designed, installed, and maintained in ways that meet State and local standards.
Site Evaluations and Permitting Process
The largest part of our onsite program deals with the wastewater permit process. This includes evaluating the soils at a site, reviewing and approving permit applications, and checking the installation of systems.
Investigating Septic Complaints
The Environmental Health Division also responds to complaints about septic systems and leaking sewage.
Septic Tank Permit Requirements
The Summit County Health Department oversees the permitting of septic tanks. To obtain a Septic Permit to install a septic tank, the following steps must be taken:
Conduct at percolation test.
Percolation is the rate at which water will absorb into the soil. Water absorption must not be faster than one inch per minute or slower than one inch per hour. A form has been created to use for per test results – click here for the Perc Test Results Form.
A percolation test can be conducted by:
- A licensed engineer.
- Someone that has been certified by the State to conduct a percolation test.
- The Summit Health Department will be present at all perc tests.
If the health department is not present for the test, the perc test results may be accepted or rejected. A list of certified percolation testers and septic tank installers in Summit County is available here: Certified Percolation Testers and System Designers.
Appeal Process for Failed Percolation Test
If the test fails, the homeowner can bring it to the Health Department and present it to the Director for review. If it is rejected, the homeowner can then take the test results to the Board of Health for appeal.
Health Department Septic Tank Permitting Policy
All small subdivisions are required to conduct a percolation test that can cover 3 to 5 housing lots. Large subdivisions can use representative numbers.
Individual lot owners still have to get a percolation test for their property for each septic tank.
Types of Septic Systems in Summit County
- Shallow Trench System – the trench is dug one foot or less (no deeper than one foot into the soil). Draining is either through a perforated pipe and drain rock or a chambered system.
- Standard Trench System – the trench is dug down four feet or less. Can utilize either type of draining system.
- Deep Trench System – the trench is dug down to seven feet. The draining system consists of drain rock with the perforated pipeline on top of the rock.
- At Grade with Capping Fill – the bottom of the absorption field is at the ground surface.
- Alternative Systems – for more information on these types of systems, call Nathan Brooks at 435-336-3226.
How a Septic System Works
A typical septic system has three main components:
- A septic tank;
- An absorption field; and
- The soil.
Microbes in the soil digest or remove most contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.
- The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene.
- It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out (forming sludge) and oil and grease to float to the surface (as scum).
- It also allows partial decomposition of the solid materials.
- Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the absorption field area.
- Newer tanks generally have risers with lids at the ground surface to allow easy location, inspection, and pumping of the tank.
- The wastewater exits the septic tank and is discharged into the absorption field for further treatment by a biomat and the soil.
- The partially treated wastewater is pushed along into the absorption field for further treatment every time new wastewater enters the tank.
- A reserve absorption field, required by many states, is an area on your property suitable for a new absorption field system if your current absorption field fails.
- Treat this area with the same care as your septic system.
- Septic tank wastewater flows to the absorption field, where it percolates into the soil, which provides final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.
- Suitable soil is necessary for successful wastewater treatment.
- The purified wastewater eventually evaporates from the soil, is taken up by plants or percolates into the groundwater.
Environmental Health Division, Summit County Health Department
650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, Utah 84060
Phone: 435-333-1511, Fax: 435-333-1580