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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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Onsite Sewage

Contact Us

  •  941-624-7200

    Mailing Location

    1100 Loveland Boulevard 

    Port Charlotte, FL 33980

State of Florida  - Onsite Sewage Programs This section develops statewide rules and provides training and standardization for Health Department employees.

EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency  This site offers valuable information and resources to manage onsite wastewater systems in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment and allows communities to grow and prosper.

NOWRA  - The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association The largest organization within the U.S. dedicated solely to educating and representing members within the onsite and decentralized industry.

Pipeline Newsletter - The National Small Flows Clearinghouse Each quarterly issue of Pipeline focuses on a single wastewater topic and presents it in an easy-to-read format.

NESC - National Environmental Services CenterThey have an extensive holding of free and low-cost educational publications.

CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Health Services Program Onsite Wastewater

FOWA - Florida Onsite Wastewater AssociationThe Florida Onsite Wastewater Association is an organized group of those engaged in the manufacturing, installation, repair or maintenance of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems. 

On July 1, 2021, the Onsite Sewage Program and all its regulatory authority for management was transferred from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Your local County Health Department will continue to serve all your routine program needs per the Interagency Agreement between the two agencies.

Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), commonly referred to as septic systems, are a safe and effective means of wastewater disposal for 30 percent of Florida’s population.  With an estimated 2.6 million systems in operation, Florida represents 12 percent of the United States’ septic systems.  Properly designed, constructed, and maintained systems protect Florida’s ground water which provides 90 percent of Florida’s drinking water.

OSTDS also provides for regulation of

  • Installation of new OSTDS
  • Repairs made to OSTDS
  • Existing System Verifications
  • Companies that service OSTDS
  • Temporary Toilet or Holding Tank Servicing Companies
  • Annual Operating Permits of Certain OSTDS
  • Abandonments of Existing Septic Systems
  • Managed Septic System Program

Only Registered Septic Tank Contractors or Licensed Plumbers are permitted to work on OSTDS.  Permits must be obtained from the local health department to install or make repairs to these systems.  A homeowner may make repairs only on his personally occupied residence after a permit has been issued.

These systems are usually Septic Tanks, Aerobic Treatment Systems, or special Performance Based Treatment Systems that are used for homes and small residential units, or small commercial or industrial sites which only produce domestic or commercial type wastes.

Commercial systems producing more than 5000 gpd are regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection.


Homebuyer's Guide to Septic Systems (504 KB; pdf)