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Septic System Ownership in West Virginia

Septic systems are the primary option for homeowners without access to a public sewage system, West Virginia, like many of the Mid-Atlantic states, has a large number of residents who use them as their method of wastewater disposal. Because septic systems can cause pollution or sanitary problems if not properly installed or operated, West Virginia has laws and regulations in place to reduce this threat.

Regulation of Septic Systems / Septic Contractors in West Virginia

The Public Health Sanitation Division of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is responsible for regulating septic systems and licensing contractors. They issues licenses to professionals who install and design septic systems, and also process and issue permits for building and modifying septic systems. The rules and specifications for septic tank building and operation are outlined in West Virginia's Title 64, which is available online at the Public Health Sanitation Division's website.

Licensure Requirements for Septic System Contractors

The Public Health Sanitation Division issues licenses to sewage system installers. There are an estimated 1,500 trained, certified sewage system installers in the state. Licensed installers must pass an exam for which the state offers annual training classes. Certification is valid for five years. The state provides a list of certified installers to residents.

Regulations for New Septic Systems

Before installing a new septic system, a contractor or homeowner must obtain a permit. An application must be submitted to the local Department of Health. Plans, specifications and layout of the septic system must be included in the application, as well as the results from percolation tests. Applications and permit requirements are available through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

How to File a Complaint

Many septic systems are neglected or improperly maintained, posing serious health risks to community members. If you would like to file a complaint about a leaking septic system, you can call the all-hours West Virginia Spill Release Hotline at 1-800-642-3074, or the National Response Center at 800-424-8802. If you have other complaints or concerns, contact the West Virginia Office of Waste Management 304-926-0465.


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