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Bureau of Ground Water, Residuals, and Permit Administration
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Professional Information

The location, design, construction, installation, repair and operation of individual septic systems in New Jersey are subject to the Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems (N.J.A.C. 7:9A) pursuant to the authority of the Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (N.J.S.A. 58:11-23). These standards, by rule, integrate the elements of soils, geology and engineering, so that a relatively simple system will effectively remove disease-causing pathogens and chemical nutrients from domestic wastewater.

In New Jersey, the DEP develops the regulations, along with input from the State’s stakeholders.  The regulations are implemented and enforced by municipal and county Boards of Health. However, most Boards of Health contract local health departments to assist with local onsite wastewater management, which involves implementation of N.J.A.C. 7:9A, septic plan reviews, permitting and enforcement of health and environmental violations in accordance to the code. 

Unless a local health department has directed otherwise, residents do not need to obtain an approval from the DEP when repairing, altering or constructing their septic system. Residents only need a DEP approval when local authorities cannot approve a project in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:9A.

Featured Documentation for Local Health Departments

Do you need technical permitting information? There is a Frequently Asked Questions document to assist health departments in reviewing septic system applications. Installation and design documentation from manufacturers is also important to have during the review process. Please remember that guidance from the DEP is limited in applicability under N.J.A.C. 7:9A. From the left to right lists DEP's, Frequently Asked Questions, Technical Guidance for Inspecting Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (pdf) , and the Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems.

Documents, Publications and Forms

FAQ Manual
Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance Regarding the Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems
Inspection Manual
Technical Guidance for Inspections of Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems
N.J.A.C. 7:9A
Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems

  Title Type Format
Generic Treatment Works Approvals
arrow Select Fill Specifications (pdf)
arrow Gravel Alternative Specifications (pdf)
arrow Gravel Alternative Appendix 1 (pdf)
arrow Gravel Alternative Excel Spreadsheet
arrow Pinelands Pilot Study (pdf)
arrow Tire Chip Specifications (pdf)
arrow Chamber Disposal Field Specifications (pdf)
Voluntary Registration
arrow Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Professionals Voluntary Registration Form

Alternate Design TWA Application Forms and Checklist

Septic Management Tips

  • Provide management continuity
  • Enforce regulations and program requirements through incentives
  • Conduct site and regional-scale evaluations
  • Require certification or licensing of service provides
  • Oversee system design review and approval
  • Issue installation and operation permits
  • Oversee system construction
  • Access property for inspection and monitoring
  • Inspect and monitor systems and the receiving environment
  • Finance the program through a dedicated finding source
  • Charge fees for management program services (e.g., permitting, inspections)
  • Provide financial or cost-share assistance
  • Issue and/or receive grants
  • Develop training for service providers and staff
  • Conduct public education and involvement programs
  • Hire, train, and retain qualified employees
  • Bookkeeping Equals Good Septic Management

    The Onsite Program has put together information about data management. Residents rely on government agencies to provide basic information about their septic system, especially during real estate transactions. Data collection and management are essential to program planning, development, and implementation. It is important that records be accessible. This means that information that goes into a record keeping system must be able to come out of the record keeping system. Each year the Onsite Wastewater Management Program collaborates with local health departments to obtain permit information to assist in managing nonpoint pollution on a statewide basis. Local governments can participate by making sure that the information collected will result in useful information that lends to public health, environmental protection, and at a minimum meets the program's clearly defined program goals.

    Data Elements

  • Permit Information
  • General Site Information
  • Site Evaluation Information
  • Treatment System Information
  • Facility Information
  • Service Report Data
  • Complains and Public Nuisance Data


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    Last Updated: June 1, 2023