An EHS evaluating soil in a pit




















1.  After an application is submitted for an Improvement Permit, the assigned Environmental Health Specialist will schedule your evaluation.  If you made a request to meet the environmental health specialist at the time of the evaluation, he/she will call you to set up an appointment.

2.  The Environmental Health Specialist visits the site.  He/she will first look for the following items before proceeding with the evaluation:

  • Property corners and sidelines are clearly identified with stakes and flagging
  • Building location clearly identified with stakes and flagging
  • Lot is accessible and does not need underbrushing/clearing

If the property lines and/or house location is not marked properly, there will be a revisit fee and the evaluation will not continue until this fee is paid and the property is properly prepared.

If the property needs underbrushing/clearing, the Environmental Health Specialist will notify the applicant and will not continue with the evaluation until the property is more accessible.  There is no revisit fee in these cases.

3.  The Environmental Health Specialist evaluates the site using the Laws and Rules for Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems in North Carolina.  An evaluation involves all of the following factors:

  • topography and landscape position (for example, is the slope too steep for a septic system or is the proposed septic system area in a depression?)
  • soil characteristics (soil texture, soil structure, clay mineralogy)
  • soil wetness (identified by colors of chroma as determined by reference to Munsell Soil Color Charts)
  • soil depth (to saprolite, rock, or parent material)
  • restrictive horizons
  • available space (is there enough space to fit a septic system and another septic system, called the repair area?)

The Environmental Health Specialist will auger soil borings to determine the soil characteristics.  In some cases, however, the applicant may be required to have pits dug (generally done with a backhoe) before the evaluation can be completed.

4.  The improvement permit will be either approved or denied and you will receive this in writing:

  • If approved, the Environmental Health Specialist will issue an Improvement Permit, which will show where the septic system must be located
  • If denied, the denial will list reasons for the denial and your right to appeal the decision and how to appeal

Soil with prismatic structureSoil with subangular blocky structure