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Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems


A septic system used to be a simple hole in the ground where all of our wastewater would go to disappear. Times have changed and we now know that the septic system is one of the most important utilities in the home. When it is installed and designed correctly, a septic system will effectively treat your wastewater for many years while minimizing the effect that the wastewater has on your drinking water.  When septic systems malfunction or are installed poorly, they pose a threat to the health of our families, pets, neighbors, and the environment.

The Cumberland County Health Department Septic Program can be broken down into 4 parts; Septic Inspections, Septic Complaints, Septic Permitting & Installation, and Septic Education. 

Septic Inspections – Within our jurisdiction, a third party septic inspection is required whenever someone is selling their home. The inspection must be completed by a contractor who is registered with our office using the NJDEP’s inspection form which is available here . Septic inspections are also required when;

  • a septic system is not operating properly, or
  • when an expansion, alteration, or changed use of the real property served by the system is proposed, or
  • when the home or structure served by the system has been vacant for more than one year.


Septic Complaints – Our office receives numerous septic complaints each year where people report illegal septic installations, malfunctioning septic systems, or other septic related issues. Our office investigates each of these complaints and carries out enforcement actions when appropriate. Septic complaints can be placed over the phone by calling 856-327-7602 or by email at .

Septic Permitting & Installation – This part of our septic program takes up a lot of our time. Each year our office reviews more than 250 septic applications and preforms more than 500 field inspections throughout our jurisdiction.  We receive applications for new construction, repairs, & alterations and ensure that the engineers who designed the plans have met the standards identified in the New Jersey state septic code, known as N.J.A.C. 7:9A The Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems. A copy of the code is available through the link below. 

Septic Outreach & Education – This is somewhat of a new area for us but something that we found to be very necessary. As the septic codes have changed through the years we noticed that the average homeowner became less aware and less involved with how their wastewater is handled. The increase in the average cost of installing a new system seemed to be the catalyst for renewing the interest in septic systems. Unfortunately the average homeowner was so removed from understanding what a septic system does, that even communicating with an engineer, contractor, or inspector became difficult. In an effort to bring everyone up to speed, we have introduce the online Septic Essentials miniseries that is available by clicking here . We also meet with realtors, contractors, & engineers each year to review program updates and provide training on what is expected of them. We have also established a guidance group, made up of industry representatives that help to steer our septic program. This group is known as the Residential Drinking Water & Wastewater Advisory Committee (R-DWWAC).   

Listing files in 'Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems'

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Non-point Pollution Control