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> Health EH OWTS (Sewage) Systems: Requirements

OWTS (Sewage) Systems: Requirements


Lot Size and Permit Requirements

The following is not a complete representation of the Tompkins County Sanitary Code or of any specific Code sections cited. What is listed here is condensed and highlighted information from Article VI of the Tompkins County Sanitary Code for unofficial reference purposes only. Minimum lot size/dimension applies to new construction on undeveloped lots (including the siting of a mobile home) or conversions on lots where public wastewater treatment is not available.

  1. Lot Size
    1. Lots must have enough usable area to furnish adequate separation distances between such features as wells and OWTS's and to allow enough room for a replacement OWTS.
    2. Minimum lot size for an OWTS construction permit is one acre of usable area Minimum lot size must be met by a single piece. See lot dimensions below.
    3. The building or OWTS must be located within the usable area.
    4. Construction permits for lots of 30,000 square feet or more created prior to August 17, 1977 will be considered if all other Code requirements can be met.
    5. Minimum lot size may be halved if the property is served by public water supply operated by a municipality or an approved water company.
    6. Usable area is land available for siting a building, its water and OWTS; useable area excludes such areas as Department of Environmental Conservation wet lands, swamps, bogs, flood plains, highways, rights-of-way, and other features.
    7. Minimum lot size required by towns and villages within Tompkins County can vary and will not necessarily be the same as the requirements of the Tompkins County Sanitary Code. Applicants for building or construction permits are advised to investigate all code requirements that may apply to their particular project.
  2. Lot Dimensions
    1. Lots must be shaped such that, as a minimum, a circle of 150 feet diameter can be inscribed entirely within the confines of the usable area. This does not apply to lots of 30,000 square feet or more created prior to August 17, 1977.
    2. For lots with public water and those that can be halved, a circle of 100 feet in diameter is required.
    3. The Permit Issuing Official may consider waiving minimum lot size and lot dimension if a design professional is responsible for the OWTS design, submits a detailed developmental plan acceptable to the Department, and all other parts of Article VI can be met.
  3. Construction Permit
    1. A Health Department OWTS Construction Permit is required before: construction of a building which requires an OWTS, siting a mobile home, constructing OWTS, or conversion of a building.
    2. Construction permits are valid for two years. Permits are renewable and transferable. An application for renewal or transfer must be submitted prior to expiration of the OWTS construction permit.
    3. Conversion means any building that is altered resulting in a change in the volume of characteristics of the liquid wastes. Conversion can include changing from non-residential to residential and adding bedrooms to existing homes.
  4. Certificate of Completion
    1. OWTS's may not be covered until inspected and approved by the Health Department.
    2. The OWTS may not be used nor shall any building be occupied until a Certificate of Completion is issued by the Health Department.
  5. Survey Map
    • A survey map should be submitted with all applications for an OWTS construction permit for new or converted projects, so conformance to minimum lot size requirements can be evaluated and confirmed.