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Septic System Ownership in Florida

About 30% of the population in Florida depends on on-site septic systems to take care of their sewage. This adds up to about 2.3 million on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems in the state. The Division of Environmental Health has various laws and guidelines in place to ensure protection of the citizens from any hazards that may arise from the operation of privately owned septic systems.

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Regulation of Septic Tank Systems

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is the regulatory body that governs the installation, operation, and alteration of on-site septic systems in Florida. Rules and guidelines are contained in the Solid and Hazardous Waste Regulation Handbook. Disposal of quantities over 5000 gallons/day is governed by the Florida Department of Environment Protection (DEP).

Licensure Requirements for Septic System Contractors

Any project concerning septage may only be undertaken by individuals certified by the Bureau of Onsite Sewage Program. They provide statewide training for employees of the Health Department responsible for installation and maintenance of sewage systems. Certified persons may register as contractors with the DOH. Renewal of registration is necessary for the continued validity of certification.

Installing a New Septic System

Application packets are available at the Department of Health including complete details and guidelines necessary to submit an application for the construction, alteration, and operation of onsite septic systems. A list of supporting documents and the required fee is also contained in the packet. Completed application forms along with plot plan and results of soil and percolation tests have to be submitted to the Department of Health by the homeowner.

How to File a Complaint

Contact the Bureau of Onsite Sewage Programs regarding any complaints or questions about environmental issues caused by sewage. They may be contacted online, by phone, or in writing. Complaints are also handled by the local County Health authorities.

Contact Information

Florida Department of Health
Bureau of Onsite Sewage Programs (HSES)
4052 Bald Cypress Way,
Bin# A08
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1713
Phone: (850) 245-4070


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