Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS)

Alameda County Department of Environmental Health (ACDEH), Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Program coordinates with the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFRWQCB) to permit Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS's) also known as Septic Systems for sewage disposal and to ensure safe, potable water on new and existing development projects in all areas of Alameda County.

The mission of the OWTS Program is to help you identify the best solutions for wastewater disposal in order to protect human health and the environment. The OWTS Staff is dedicated to acting as your liaison, while you maneuver through the planning, development and permitting process of projects requiring OWTS's.

This website is intended to provide information and tools to help you plan, build, expand or maintain your residential or commercial project, and realize your vision for economic growth and development.

Service Requests

In order to request service, please complete the service request application form and submit as directed on the application.  

Service Request Application

The Alameda County OWTS Regulations and Amendments (effective January 15, 2009) were developed under the authority of the Alameda County General Ordinance Code, Chapter 15.18.040.B. The Regulations to provide for the safe and sanitary treatment and disposal of private sewage. The County Regulations provide minimum standards for the construction and operation of OWTS's, to safely treat and dispose of sewage in order to prevent environmental degradation including pollution of surface water and groundwater and to protect public health, safety and welfare to the greatest extent possible. The County Regulations are not intended to replace requirements of the State Water Resources Control Board or other local agencies such as the Zone 7 Water Agency, which must also be met.

The Water Quality Control Policy for Siting, Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (State OWTS Policy) was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on June 19th, 2012, and became effective on May 13, 2013. The Policy recognizes that local agencies can provide the most effective means to manage OWTS's on a routine basis. Therefore as an important element, it is the intent of the Policy to utilize and improve upon necessary existing local programs through coordination with State and Local Agencies.

Regulatory Documents

ACDEH Documents

June 2018 LAMP Documents for Public Review


Other Agency Documents

A list  of local OWTS Design Professionals & Consultants is provided below for your reference. This list does not represent an endorsement of any particular professional by ACDEH.

OWTS Design Professionals and Consultants List

Careful selection of the licensed professional best suited for your project, and clear communication in the beginning, is the foundation of a successful project.


State Regulations Governing OWTS Design Professionals

Registered Environmental Health Specialists (REHS), Registered Geologists, and Registered Civil Engineers are authorized by Alameda County OWTS Regulations to design OWTS's. If your project requires the design of any fixed works for drainage, water supply, purification of water, grading; geotechnical evaluation for slope stability; and/or land surveying in connection with your OWTS design, these activities must be performed under direction of a Licensed Civil Engineer and/or Licensed Land Surveyor. State Regulations Governing these professionals are provided below.

  • California Health & Safety Code, Article 1: Registered Environmental Health Specialists (§§ 106600 - 106735)
  • Geologists & Geophysicist Act, Business & Professions Code (§§ 7800 - 7887)
  • Regulations Relating to the Practices of Geology and Geophysics, California Code of Regulations Title 16, Division 29 (§§ 3000 - 3067)
  • Professional Engineers Act, Business and Professions Code (§§ 6700 - 6799)
  • Professional Land Surveyors' Act, Business and Professions Code (§§ 8700 - 8805)
  • Board Rules and Regulations Relating to the Practices of Professional Engineering and Professional Land Surveying, California Code of Regulations Title 16, Division 5 (§§ 400 - 476)