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Septic Regulations in Nebraska

Septic System Ownership

As Nebraska is a large state with a small population, many of its residents live in areas that do not have public sewage systems. This means that septic systems are common throughout the state and are an important part of public sanitation and health. Like most states, Nebraska has enacted a number of regulations to monitor the proper use of septic systems.

Regulation of Septic Systems / Septic Contractors in Nebraska

The Nebraska Onsite Wastewater Program and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality regulate the installation, operation and maintenance of septic systems, as well as issuing permits and certification for work on septic systems. Their regulations are intended to reduce the risks of water pollution, unsanitary conditions, and disease transmission that can result from improper utilization of septic systems.

Licensure Requirements for Septic System Contractors

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality requires that pumpers, installers, repairmen, soil evaluators, and inspectors of septic systems be certified to perform or supervise work on septic systems. Certification is obtained either by passing a state-administered exam or by applying for a Hardship Certificate. In both cases, the contract worker is required to demonstrate their knowledge of the area in which they are seeking certification. Certificates obtained by passing an exam expire in odd-numbered years. They can be renewed by participating in continuing education programs in relevant fields.

Installing a New Septic System

Nebraska does not require permits for all new septic system installations. Buildings that have less than 1,000 gallons of wastewater flowing from toilets and urinals do not require a permit to install or modify a septic system. These systems must be registered with the Department of Environmental Quality, a process that requires the submission of soil percolation test results and detailed plan drawings to this department.

Buildings that have a higher than 1,000-gallon flow of wastewater from toilets and urinals do require a permit for the installation of a septic system. To obtain one, the owner of the building must submit a permit application, fee, detailed specifications, plans, site evaluation and soil information. These documents must be prepared and signed by a state-licensed engineer.

How to File a Complaint

Complaints about septic system problems can be directed to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Waste Management Section at 402-471-8308. To report a leak from a septic system, call 402-471-2186 between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, or 402-471-4545 at other times and on holidays.

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