Here are some of the most commonly asked questions answered by the OSSF staff from the general public.
What number should I call if I have a question about my septic system or the LCRA permit/inspection process?
Does an inspection have to be done for every sale?
When are tank components required to be uncovered?
How long does it take to get a sale inspection?
What do you take to the closing after your system has been inspected?
Who pays for the system sale inspection?
Is a permit required to make a repair?
Is an inspection necessary if a property was inherited?
What is LCRA’s jurisdiction area?
How long does it take to get a permit to install a new system?
What is retrofitting?
Will LCRA uncover the tank?
When is retrofitting an option rather than system modification?
When is retrofitting required?
When is a site hole required?
What is an emergency repair?
Can a property owner do the repair?
What is a system modification?
Are holding tanks allowed?
Can a drainfield be less than 100 feet from a water well?
What is a profile hole?
What is the purpose of the profile hole?
Is a re-inspection required if the property will be connected to a centralized sewer?
Can I do my own maintenance on an aerobic treatment unit?
For more information, call 1-800-776-5272, Ext. 3216, or in Austin 473-3216, or through Ask LCRA.
Q. Does an inspection have to be done for every sale?
Q. What number should I call if I have a question about my septic system or the LCRA permit/ inspection process?
A. You can call the Austin office, (512) 473-3216, or 1-800-776-5272, Ext. 3216 or you can call the Marble Falls office, (830)693-6082, or 1-800-776-5272, Ext. 3171.
YES, a system re-inspection is required before an approval for continued use of the system can be issued to the new owner. The new owner must have an approval for continued use to legally operate the OSSF. LCRA does not require, but does recommend that this inspection be performed before closing.
Q. When are tank components required to be uncovered?
The inlet and outlet connections to the tank are required to be exposed if LCRA has not seen these components within the last 10 years. The portholes or manholes which provide access to the inside of the tank must be accessible if LCRA has not inspected this component within the last 5 years.
Q. How long does it take to get a sale inspection?
You should allow about one week after the paperwork is submitted to LCRA’s offices for an inspection on the septic system.
Q. What do you take to the closing after your system has been inspected?
Once the inspection has been approved by LCRA, a re-inspection report and an approval letter will be left at the site along with a Form 1100 to be given to the new owner to transfer the record and approval of system use into his or her name.
Q. Who pays for the system sale inspection?
Payment of the inspection fee is determined by the buyer and seller of the property.
Q. Is a permit required to make a repair?
No, a construction permit is not required, but an inspection application and fee are required to be submitted.
Q. Is an inspection necessary if a property was inherited?
YES, any time a property changes ownership from one person to another, whatever the means, a re-inspection of the system is required.
Q. What is LCRA’s jurisdiction area?
There are maps in the application package that show the general area. If you have any questions regarding whether or not your property is in LCRA’s area, contact our office, at 1-800-776-5272, Ext. 3216, to verify your location. You may also refer to the interactive regulatory zone map at http://www.lcra.org/water/quality/oss/ossf_disclaimer.html
Q. How long does it take to get a permit to install a new system?
You should allow up to four weeks from the date of application submittal.
Q. Will LCRA uncover the tank?
Q. What is retrofitting?
A. Retrofitting is a term used when LCRA requires the use of low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators to replace non-conserving fixtures in order to conserve water and reduce wastewater discharges.
NO, LCRA will not uncover the tank. The property owner or the owner’s representative must uncover the tank and any other portion of the system required to be exposed for inspection.
Q. When is retrofitting an option rather than system modification?
(1) Retrofitting is an option if one bedroom or one potential bedroom is added to a residence over the number that it is currently licensed to service without enlarging the system, and if the system was installed under an LCRA permit. This option does not apply to certain evapotranspiration systems installed prior to Dec. 31, 1987. See LCRA rules. (2) When the square footage of an addition exceeds the amount of heated and or cooled space that the system is licensed for by one bedroom equivalency.
Q. When is retrofitting required?
All licensed grandfathered systems (those systems installed prior to Sept. 17, 1971) are required to be retrofitted.
Q. When is a site hole required?
A site hole is required in the drainfield on all systems installed prior to Sept. 17, 1971.
Q. What is an emergency repair?
A repair made to an OSSF to abate immediate and dangerous health hazards without altering the sewage facility’s function and planning materials. Notification must be given to LCRA within 72 hours of when the emergency repair begins. This does not include work to the drainfield, or replacing the tank. Examples of emergency repairs include replacing tank lids, replacing inlet and outlet devices, and repairing solid lines.
Q. Can a property owner do the repair?
YES, a property owner can do his/her own repairs to the system. Other individuals can assist provided they are not compensated for the work being done, unless that person is a TCEQ licensed installer.
Q. What is a system modification?
A system modification is the addition to or improvement of an OSSF to meet current standards.
Q. Are holding tanks allowed?
Holding tanks may be used only on lots where no other methods of sewage disposal are feasible, as determined by LCRA. They also may be used as an interim facility such as for a temporary sales office.
Q. Can a drainfield be less than 100 feet from a water well?
Possibly, depending on the construction of the well. LCRA will require information on the well construction so the property owner should be prepared to submit information completed by a licensed well driller regarding the well construction. See TCEQ rules, Chapter 285, Table X for well construction vs. setback reductions.
Q. What is a profile hole?
A profile hole is generally a backhoe excavation two to three feet wide and two feet below the depth of the drainfield. One hole is required on each end of the proposed drainfield location.
Q. What is the purpose of the profile hole?
The profile hole is used by a licensed site evaluator or professional engineer to evaluate the soil classification and feasibility of the proposed system. In the event unsuitable soils are found, or groundwater or a restrictive horizon is found less than two feet below the bottom of the proposed drainfield, a conventional soil absorption system shall not be used.
Q. Is a re-inspection required if the property will be connected to a centralized sewer?
Possibly, if you are in the process of having a system re-inspected for approval for continued use in your name, and the property is not within a defined time period of connecting to a centralized system, an inspection may still be required.
Q. Can I do my own maintenance on an aerobic treatment unit?
The rules require a maintenance contract for the first two years. After that an owner can do the maintenance after taking the appropriate class and taking and passing the test.