§ 130A-335. Wastewater collection, treatment and disposal; rules.
(a) A person owning or controlling a residence, place of business or a place of public assembly shall provide an approved wastewater system. Except as may be allowed under another provision of law, all wastewater from water-using fixtures and appliances connected to a water supply source shall discharge to the approved wastewater system. A wastewater system may include components for collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater.
(a1) Any proposed site for a residence, place of business, or a place of public assembly located in an area that is not served by an approved wastewater system for which a new wastewater system is proposed or repair is necessary for compliance may be evaluated for soil conditions and site features by a person licensed pursuant to Chapter 89F of the General Statutes as a licensed soil scientist. For purposes of this subsection, "site features" include topography and landscape position; soil characteristics (morphology); soil wetness; soil depth; restrictive horizons; available space; and other applicable factors that involve accepted public health principles. A person licensed pursuant to Chapter 89E of the General Statutes as a licensed geologist may evaluate the proposed site or repair area, as applicable, for geologic and hydrogeologic conditions.
(a2) Evaluations conducted by a licensed soil scientist or a licensed geologist pursuant to subsection (a1) of this section to produce design and construction features for a new proposed wastewater system or a proposed repair project for an existing wastewater system, including the addressing of any special hydrologic conditions that may be required under the applicable rules for an authorization to construct or for permitting, shall be approved by the applicable permitting authorities under G.S. 130A-336 and G.S. 130A-336.1, provided both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The evaluation of soil conditions, site features, or geologic and hydrogeologic conditions satisfies all requirements of this Article. The evaluation shall not cover areas outside the scope of the applicable license.
(2) The licensed soil scientist or licensed geologist conducting the evaluation maintains an errors and omissions liability insurance policy issued by an insurer licensed under Chapter 58 of the General Statutes in an amount commensurate with the risk.
Upon receipt of a signed written evaluation from the soil scientist or licensed geologist, the Department, the Department's authorized agents, and the local health department shall be discharged and released from any liabilities, duties, and responsibilities imposed by statute or in common law from any claim arising out of or attributed to the soil conditions, site features, geologic conditions, or hydrogeologic conditions for which the signed written evaluation was submitted.
(b) All wastewater systems shall either (i) be regulated by the Department under rules adopted by the Commission or (ii) conform with the engineered option permit criteria set forth in G.S. 130A-336.1 and under rules adopted by the Commission except for the following wastewater systems that shall be regulated by the Department under rules adopted by the Environmental Management Commission:
(1) Wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal systems designed to discharge effluent to the land surface or surface waters.
(2) Wastewater systems designed for groundwater remediation, groundwater injection, or landfill leachate collection and disposal.
(3) Wastewater systems designed for the complete recycle or reuse of industrial process wastewater.
(4) Gray water systems as defined in G.S. 143-350.
(c) A wastewater system subject to approval under rules of the Commission shall be reviewed and approved under rules of a local board of health in the following circumstances:
(1) The local board of health, on its own motion, has requested the Department to review its proposed rules concerning wastewater systems; and
(2) The local board of health has adopted by reference the wastewater system rules adopted by the Commission, with any more stringent modifications or additions deemed necessary by the local board of health to protect the public health. Local boards of health shall use historical experience to establish modifications or additions to rules established by the Commission; and
(3) The Department has found that the rules, including modifications or additions to the Commission's rules, of the local board of health concerning wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems are at least as stringent as rules adopted by the Commission and are sufficient and necessary to safeguard the public health.
(c1) The rules adopted by the Commission for wastewater systems approved under the engineered option permit criteria pursuant to G.S. 130A-336.1 shall be, at a minimum, as stringent as the rules for wastewater systems established by the Commission.
(c2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a municipality shall not prohibit or regulate by ordinance or enforce an existing ordinance regulating the use of off-site wastewater systems or other systems approved by the Department under rules adopted by the Commission when the proposed system meets the specific conditions of the approval.
(d) The Department may, upon its own motion, upon the request of a local board of health or upon the request of a citizen of an affected county, review its findings under subsection (c) of this section.
The Department shall review its findings under subsection (c) of this section upon modification by the Commission of the rules applicable to wastewater systems. The Department may deny, suspend, or revoke the approval of local board of health wastewater system rules upon a finding that the local wastewater rules are not as stringent as rules adopted by the Commission, are not sufficient and necessary to safeguard the public health, or are not being enforced. Suspension and revocation of approval shall be in accordance with G.S. 130A-23.
(d1) The Department or owner of a wastewater system may file a written complaint with the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the Board pursuant to Chapter 89C of the General Statutes citing failure of a professional engineer to adhere to the rules adopted by the Commission pursuant to this Article. The Department or owner of a wastewater system may file a written complaint with the North Carolina Board of Licensed Soil Scientists in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the Board pursuant to Chapter 89F of the General Statutes citing failure of a licensed soil scientist to adhere to the rules adopted by the Commission pursuant to this Article. The Department or owner of a wastewater system may file a written complaint with the North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the Board pursuant to Chapter 89E of the General Statutes citing
failure of a licensed geologist to adhere to the rules adopted by the Commission pursuant to this Article. The Department or owner of a wastewater system may file a written complaint with the North Carolina On-Site Wastewater Contractors and Inspectors Certification Board in accordance with rules and procedures adopted by the Board pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 90A of the General Statutes citing failure of a contractor to adhere to the rules adopted by the Commission pursuant to this Article.
(e) The rules of the Commission and the rules of the local board of health shall address at least the following: Wastewater characteristics; Design unit; Design capacity; Design volume; Criteria for the design, installation, operation, maintenance and performance of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems; Soil morphology and drainage; Topography and landscape position; Depth to seasonally high water table, rock and water impeding formations; Proximity to water supply wells, shellfish waters, estuaries, marshes, wetlands, areas subject to frequent flooding, streams, lakes, swamps and other bodies of surface or groundwaters; Density of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems in a geographical area; Requirements for issuance, suspension and revocation of permits; and Other factors which affect the effective operation and performance of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems. The rules regarding required design capacity and required design volume for wastewater systems shall provide that exceptions may be granted upon a showing that a system is adequate to meet actual daily water consumption.
(f) The rules of the Commission and the rules of the local board of health shall classify systems of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal according to size, type of treatment and any other appropriate factors. The rules shall provide construction requirements, including pretreatment and system control requirements, standards for operation, maintenance, monitoring, reporting, and ownership requirements for each classification of systems of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal in order to prevent, as far as reasonably possible, any contamination of the land, groundwater and surface waters. The Department and local health departments may impose conditions on the issuance of permits and may revoke the permits for failure of the system to satisfy the conditions, the rules, or this Article. Permits other than improvement permits shall be valid for a period prescribed by rule. Improvement permits shall be valid upon a showing satisfactory to the Department or the local health department that the site and soil conditions are unaltered, that the facility, design wastewater flow, and wastewater characteristics are not increased, and that a wastewater system can be installed that meets the permitting requirements in effect on the date the improvement permit was issued. Improvement permits for which a plat is provided shall be valid without expiration. Improvement permits for which a site plan is provided shall be valid for five years. The period of time for which the permit is valid and a statement that the permit is subject to revocation if the site plan or plat, whichever is applicable, or the intended use changes shall be displayed prominently on both the application form for the permit and the permit.
(f1) A preconstruction conference with the owner or developer, or an agent of the owner or developer, and a representative of the local health department shall be required for any authorization for wastewater system construction issued with an improvement permit under G.S. 130A-336 when the authorization is greater than five years old. Following the conference, the local health department shall advise the owner or developer of any rule changes for wastewater system construction incorporating current technology that can reasonably be expected to improve the performance of the system. The local health department shall issue a revised authorization for wastewater system construction incorporating the rule changes upon the written request of the owner or developer.
(f2) For each septic tank system that is designed to treat 3,000 gallons per day or less of sewage, rules adopted pursuant to subsection (f) of this section shall require the use of an effluent filter to reduce the total suspended solids entering the drainfield and the use of an access device for each compartment of the septic tank to provide access to the compartment in order to facilitate maintenance of the septic tank. The Commission shall not adopt specifications for the effluent filter and access device that exceed the requirements of G.S. 130A-335.1. Neither this section nor G.S. 130A-335.1 shall be construed to prohibit the use of an effluent filter or access device that exceeds the requirements of G.S. 130A-335.1. The Department shall approve effluent filters that meet the requirements of this section, G.S. 130A-335.1, and rules adopted by the Commission.
(g) Prior to denial of an improvement permit, the local health department shall advise the applicant of possible site modifications or alternative systems, and shall provide a brief description of those systems. When an improvement permit is denied, the local health department shall issue the site evaluation in writing stating the reasons for the unsuitable classification. The evaluation shall also inform the applicant of the right to an informal review by the Department, the right to appeal under G.S. 130A-24, and to have the appeal held in the county in which the site for which the improvement permit was requested is located.
(h) Except as provided in this subsection, a chemical or portable toilet may be placed at any location where the chemical or portable toilet can be operated and maintained under sanitary conditions. A chemical or portable toilet shall not be used as a replacement or substitute for a water closet or urinal where a water closet or urinal connected to a permanent wastewater treatment system is required by the North Carolina State Building Code, except that a chemical or portable toilet may be used to supplement a water closet or urinal during periods of peak use. A chemical or portable toilet shall not be used as an alternative to the repair of a water closet, urinal, or wastewater treatment system. It shall be unlawful to discharge sewage or other waste from a chemical or portable toilet used for human waste except into a wastewater system that has been approved by the Department under rules adopted by the Commission or by the Environmental Management Commission or at a site that is permitted by the Department under G.S. 130A-291.1.
(i) The Department shall notify the Department of Revenue of all wastewater dispersal product approvals and revocations within 60 days of approval or revocation. (1957, c. 1357, s. 1; 1973, c. 471, s. 1; c. 476, s. 128; c. 860; 1977, c. 857, s. 1; 1979, c. 788, s. 2; 1981, c. 949, s. 3; c. 1127, s. 47; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; 1987, c. 267, ss. 1, 2; 1989, c. 727, s. 147; c. 764, ss. 6, 7; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1075, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 944, s. 4; 1993, c. 173, s. 5; 1995, c. 285, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 585, s. 2; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 27.31(c); 1998-126, s. 1; 1998-217, s. 46(a); 2008-143, s. 13; 2011-394, s. 12(c); 2014-115, s. 10.1; 2014-120, s. 40(b); 2015-286, s. 4.14(b); 2017-139, s. 3; 2017-209, s. 18(a); 2018-114, s. 11(c); 2019-126, s. 1; 2019-131, s. 1; 2019-177, s. 7.1.)