Environmental Health Department regulates the permitting and installation of private wastewater facilities in Aransas County and performs duties as the Designated Representative as prescribed in the On-Site Sewage Facilities Rules
There are many areas of Aransas County without access to public sewer systems. In fact, Aransas County has over 12,000 septic systems at homes and businesses throughout the county. An on-site sewage facility (OSSF) is a system of treatment devices and disposal facilities that produces 5,000 gallons or less of domestic waste each day.
In June of 2001, the TCEQ (formally TNRCC) revised Title 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 285 which regulates the management of on-site facilities. This resulted in the reduction of standard sewage disposal systems (septic tank and subsurface drain field) permitted within Aransas County. The reduction of standard systems permitted is largely due to high seasonal groundwater conditions that occur throughout the county. Seasonal groundwater (water table) is defined as soils that are fully saturated for extended periods of time on an intermittent/occasional basis. Extended periods may last for one week to several months and may be due to prolong rainfall or tidal fluctuations. To be suitable for installation of a standard drain field, the base of the drain field must be installed at least 24 inches above the highest seasonal or permanent water table. If the seasonal water table is determined to be within 24 inches of the base of the drain field, then an alternative system must be installed. Alternative systems vary in their scope and application. Some may only require the addition of fill; others may require systems such as low pressure dosing, drip irrigation or aerobic plants with surface application. Alternative systems require a professional design by a Professional Engineer or Registered Sanitarian and may cost substantially more than standard systems. Owners of existing systems will not be required to take any action unless the current system fails. In the event the system fails or requires repairs/alteration; it must be repaired or replaced in compliance with current regulations.
Prior to constructing, modifying, or repairing an on-site sewage system, a permit must be approved and the required information submitted to the Aransas County Department of Environmental Health. You may reach our Designated Representatives by email or Contact James S. Jackson at 1.361.790.0121.
Individuals who are certified by TCEQ to install on-site systems.
INFORMATION ON AEROBIC SYSTEMS (SURFACE APPLICATION)
INFORMATION ON MOUND SYSTEMS
*Please refer to the Forms section on the menu at the top right of this page for any forms you may need.
HOW TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT (LOAN INSPECTION)
1) Fax the Department of Environmental Health the completed form at 1.361.790.0157.
2) Contact a septic pumper.
3) The septic pumper will schedule the appointment with the Department of Environmental Health.
4) After the inspection is completed a written report is fax and mailed only to the Title Company unless a written request is submitted with the form.
5) Water tests on wells are not included in the inspection and will only be performed upon request.
How to protect my on-site sewage system.
The biggest problem with OSSF is improper use. OSSF are only designed to handle domestic sewage.
The following substances should NOT be disposed of in a home plumbing system:
| facial tissue
|| cat box litter
| paper towels
|| feminine hygiene products
Disposal of these items add to the solid load, fills the tank rapidly and decreases its efficiency. In addition, strong chemicals not only kill the bacteria necessary for the operation of the system, but they also create the risk of leaching into the underground water sources resulting in the contamination of the groundwater and wells. Remember your septic system is built to handle human waste, not chemicals.
THERE ARE MANY THINGS YOU CAN WATCH FOR, WHEN TRYING TO SPOT SEPTIC SYSTEM PROBLEMS.
Outside of your home look for:
1) Wet spots or standing water- Areas that do not dry or appears without precipitation may indicate effluent seeping from a failing system
2) Odd growth patterns (Random patches of lush growth or dead areas surrounded by green growth.)
3)Sources of drainage pointing toward the drain field (Excess water on the drain field saturates the soil and prevents wastewater from being disposed of or treated properly.)
4) Septic odor (Odor is one of the biggest indicators.)
Inside of your home look for:
1) Leaky fixtures (One of the most common causes of septic failures, leaking fixtures can cause system overload.)
2) Slow drains or backups (This may indicate a problem with backup in the septic tank.)
3) Garbage disposal (Food grinders can double the volume of solids in the wastewater and causes septic tanks to fill faster.)
Groundwater is one of Texas's most valuable natural resources. Most of the public thinks of groundwater being an underground lake or stream. These primarily exist in areas with cavernous limestone. However, most groundwater is simply water that fills the spaces between rocks and soils underground, similar to the way water is trapped inside of a sponge. Groundwater may be brought to the surface and used as well water. Sometimes groundwater feeds lakes, rivers and other surface waters.
An aquifer is an underground formation where water is stored. They come in all shapes and sizes and may cover a small area or several hundred miles.
Every day, 50% of the U.S. population depends on groundwater as a source of drinking water. In farming areas groundwater is an important source of irrigation water.
Unfortunately groundwater is susceptible to pollutants. Groundwater contamination has occurred in communities such as ours where a high amount of septic systems are in use. Problems with septic systems are increased when communities that rely on subsurface septic disposal systems also depend on wells for drinking wells. Contamination may occur when a system fails causing the effluent to raise to the surface, when this occurs the effluent may drain into surface waters or inadequately sealed wells.
Another source of contamination occurs when a shallow (high) water table is present and effluent drains into the available water instead of being absorbed into the soil.
Drinking contaminated groundwater can have serious health effects. Disease such as hepatitis and dysentery or other serious illnesses may be contracted from drinking groundwater contaminated by septic tank waste. Awareness of water quality is very important to protecting the health of our families and our communities as groundwater will continue to be a major source of water for Texans.
INFORMATION ON ABANDON TANKS
(A) An abandoned tank is a tank that is not to be used again for holding sewage.
(B) To properly abandon, the owner shall conduct the following actions, in the order listed.
- 1. All tanks, holding tanks, and pump tanks shall have the wastewater removed by a waste transporter (a pumping service), holding a current registration with the executive director.
- 2. All tanks, holding tanks, and pump tanks shall be filled to ground level with fill material (less than three inches in diameter) which is free of organic and construction debris.