Liquid Waste (Septic Systems)

Frequently Asked Questions

Your septic tank should be pumped at least once every 3-5 years. It may need to be pumped more frequently if there are a large number of people living in the house.

Although there are many additives on the market that claim to improve your OWTS performance, there is no data or evidence that proves that introducing additives to an OWTS will increase the lifespan or operability of the system.

If a permit was issued for the installation of the system, visit ​EMD's Public Record Act Request page to search for a record. If there is no record, you can contact a septic system contractor to h​​​elp you look for the system on your property.​

To determine if you are connected to the public sewer or if public sewer is available contact Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD)​ at 916‐875‐6730.

Note: If sewer is available within 200 feet of your property line you may be required to connect to the sewer. 

Visit ​EMD's Public Record Act Request page to search for a record of an OWTS on your par​​​cel or call (916) 875‐​1500.​ You may also submit a record request.​

Most work relating to the construction, installation, and repair of an OWTS requires a permit. Visit the OWTS​ Permit​ Process page for permit requirements. Repair work such as pumping out your septic tank or de‐rooting your lines does not require a permit.​​

Visit the OWTS Permit Process page for information on the permit process.

Consult the Septic Test ​Drill map page​ to locate the area of your parcel. The location of your parcel with Sacramento County will help determine the type of system needed for that area.​​​

If you zoom in on the test drill map, the major roads are noted. The areas are general. If the parcel is close to one of the lines, contact EMD at (916) 875‐1500 to help with the determination.​​​​​​

A "Designed" OWTS is required when the geology of the parcel prohibits the use of a conventional OWTS. 

Consult the Septic Test Drill map page​​ to determine if your parcel is located in the "System Design" area. OWTS proposed for non‐residential uses may also require a "Designed" system.

There are many factors related to this. Call EMD at (916) 875-1500 and leave a message. A specialist will return your call.​​

All permit applications can be emailed, faxed or dropped off at our office:

Sacramento County Environmental Management Dept.
Environmental Compliance Division
11080 White Rock Rd., Suite 200
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670


Fax Number (916) 875-8513 

The permit application will be reviewed by staff within 5 business days. Payment can be made o​​nline​.

Yes, California Health and Safety Code, Section 5411 states that "no person shall discharge sewage or other waste in any manner which will result in contamination, pollution, or nuisance." However, there are provisions in the Plumbing Code that allow for the use of gray water under certain conditions. Contact the Sacramento County Buil​ding Department​ at (916) 875‐5296.​