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Septic System Ownership in Oregon

Various rules are in place to guide homeowners in the construction, operation, repair, and maintenance of septic systems in the state of Oregon. Because Oregon experiences nitrate contamination in many areas, following the guidelines in the process of installing private septic systems is particularly important.

Regulation of Septic Tank Systems

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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the body responsible for issuing permits for construction and maintenance of all kinds of wastewater management systems and sewage systems.

Licensure Requirements for Septic System Contractors

Sewage disposal services are operated with a license issued by the DEQ. An Installer License authorizes a person to conduct grading, excavating work in connection with installation of septic systems. A Pumper License authorizes the holder to clean and dispose of onsite sewage. A person may qualify for both licenses. Application forms and instructions are available online.

Installing a New Septic System

Before installing a new septic system, the property has to be evaluated by DEQ or an authorized septic system specialist, who will then advise as to the type of system required and the best location to install it. The homeowner then needs to apply for a construction permit. Both the evaluation and the permit to construct come with separate fees. After construction, a pre-cover inspection is conducted before the system is covered with soil.

How to File a Complaint

To report an emergency or file a complaint, contact your nearest DEQ office.

How to Contact the Department of Environmental Quality

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
811 Sixth Ave.
Portland, OR 97204-1390

Phone: 503-229-5696
toll free in Oregon: 1-800-452-4011


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