Contact Information

  • Environmental Health
  • (828) 465-8270
  • Contact via email
  • Main Location:PO Box 389 Newton, NC 28658
  • (view all county locations)

Septic Systems

An overview of the application, evaluation and permitting process is available for review. To apply for a septic system permit, download an application and bring it to the Catawba County Permit Center, which is located on the main floor in the Government Center at 100-A Southwest Blvd., Newton, or mail it to Catawba County Environmental Health P.O. Box 389, Newton, NC 28658, together with the permit fee and all required additional information and documents. You must have zoning approval before your application will be processed. When applying for well or septic system permits read the Application, Evaluation, and Permitting Procedures carefully. Applications cannot be processed until all required information is received.

The septic permit requires that you include a plat or GIS printout of the property with locations of structures (or proposed structures), driveways, rights of way, existing wells or septic systems, streams, gullies, and other features drawn in. For new construction or on vacant lots, properties must be prepared for evaluation by staking and stringing the property lines, the location of any proposed structure, the proposed location of the driveway, and any other structures such as pools, decks, gazebos, etc.

Once the application has been returned and the property is prepared, for evaluation, call the Environmental Health Specialist for your area to arrange a visit. The specialist can be determined by using this map. This sign must also be posted at the property to be evaluated so the Environmental Health Specialist can locate it.

The Environmental Health Specialist will arrange to visit your property to perform the service for which you have applied. If you are applying for a septic system permit, the EHS will place flags on the property where you must dig holes so that the Environmental Health Specialist can evaluate your soil. Once the holes are dug, the Environmental Health Specialist will return to perform an evaluation.

The On-Site Wastewater program permits and supervises the installation of septic systems where sewer lines are not available so that sewage may be safely disposed of with the least impact on individuals and the environment.

The Well program supervises the siting, installation and protection of private water supplies, and monitors the performance of well contractors in Catawba County.

The Environmental Health Specialists in the OSWT/Well program are assigned areas of the county in which they provide services for septic tank installation, private well siting and inspection, and complaint investigation.

Click here to find the contact for your district

The On-Site Wastewater division permits and supervises the installation of septic systems where sewer lines are not available so that sewage may be safely disposed of with the least impact on individuals and the environment.

The septic tank is a two piece concrete box, sealed at the joints to prevent water seepage. It is placed just below ground level on an undisturbed bed of soil and leveled carefully. The home's waste line is connected to it. There are doors in the top which allow access for inspection and pumping of effluent.

The doors on the top of the tank allow access for inspection and periodic pumping. Inside the doors on the outlet end is a "tee", which keeps grease from entering the drain lines and clogging them. The tank is separated into two chambers by a "baffle wall", which prevents solids from entering the second chamber of the tank.

After leaving the tank, the effluent is piped to a distribution device, in this case a "dropbox", which is carefully leveled. There are two pipes leaving this box, one to the first trench, the second, which is higher, to the second trench. This allows the first trench to fill before the second. Another box allows the second trench to feed before the last.

In this installation, three trenches are used, for a total of 300 linear feet. The total length is determined by the number of bedrooms in a residence and the soil characteristics. The number of trenches used is determined by the lot layout, size, and topography.

The Environmental Health Specialist carefully examines each part of the installation of the system to ensure that it will operate according to the design specifications. Here, he measures the depth of the gravel in the trench, which allows effluent to move freely and absorb into the ground. There must be at least 12 inches of gravel in the trench.

After the system is approved, the contractor may cover the system. The area is seeded with grass to aid in removing surface water (evapotranspiration) and the plumbing is connected to the tank.