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Bureau of Ground Water, Residuals, and Permit Administration
NJDEP Division of Water Quality
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disposal bedApplying for a Permit?

There are four major types of septic system approvals in New Jersey. The Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems require that septic permits be obtained before locating, designing, constructing, installing, altering, and operating a septic system. Large scale septic systems (systems over 2,000 gpd) are permitted under N.J.A.C. 7:14A.

1. Local Health Department Approval
This is the most common. Local health departments issue permits for the location, design, construction, installation, alteration, repair and operation of septic systems that discharge less than 2,000 gallons of wastewater per day. This permit is needed for all residences and some small scale commercial operations. For a list of local heath departments, visit the directory of local health departments. Important note, the NJDEP does not issue permits for these systems, unless the applicant is seeking an Alternative Design Treatment Works Approval. If you need more information about this kind of permit, contact your local health department.

2. Alternative Design Treatment Works Approval
This approval is issued by the Onsite Wastewater Management Program. It may be issued when a septic system location, design, construction, installation, alteration or operation does not strictly conform with the requirements in N.J.A.C. 7:9A. The Alternative Design Treatment Works Approval permit is an authorization, in the form of a waiver. It permits the local Health Department to make the final approval. To obtain an Alternative Design Treatment Works Approval from NJDEP, the health department must first review and endorse the septic application. To apply for this approval, read the Instructions for the Applicant document and complete the below forms.

Alternate Design TWA Application Forms and Checklist

3. Certification for 50-or-More Realty Improvement Developments
This approval is a certification that is issued by the Bureau of Ground Water, Residuals, and Permit Administration. When proposing 50-or-more housing units for a major subdivision with septic systems, the Department is required by law to review the plan of development and certify that the proposed project will comply with the applicable standards. In a 50-or-More Realty Improvement application, the Department review is intended to arrive at a building lot density that can comply with the Ground Water Quality Standards for nitrate. An application for a 50-or-more realty improvement certification must contain a nitrate dilution model that can demonstrate that the proposed project will be in conformance with the ground water quality standards. This model must be sent to the Department along with the other supporting documents discussed in the Department's guidance titled, "50-or-More Realty Improvement Guidance." This certification does not eliminate the need to submit individual septic system construction applications to the local health department.

  Table of Related Forms for Certification for 50-or-More Realty Improvement Developments
  Title Type Other Format PDF Format

Guidance For 50 Or More Realty Improvement Certifications (pdf, 812Kb)

arrow Nitrate Dilution Model (xls, 325Kb)

4. New Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) Approval
New Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System (N.J.A.C. 7:14A) permit is required for septic system discharges over 2,000 gallons per day. This septic permit is issued by the Bureau of Ground Water, Residuals, and Permit Administration. More information on these permits can be obtained from the Discharge to Ground Water Permitting Program.




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Last Updated: January 25, 2022