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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Water : Information : FAQs : GroundWaterDischargeFAQs


Groundwater Discharge Frequently Asked Questions

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What do I need to do to obtain a septic system permit for my property and have it installed?

The process of obtaining a permit and having the system installed is a five-step process. (1) Have a site evaluation performed on the parcel by a licensed Class "D" Soil Scientist. Groundwater discharge testingThe site evaluation determines the type of system that can be used and where on the property it can be placed.

(2) This report needs the review and approval of the GWDS. (3) Have the system designed by a Class "B" or "C" designer. (4) The GWDS reviews the design and a permit is issued. (5) Have a Class "E" System Contractor install the system.

Lists of licensed professionals can be found by clicking on the links below:

Class A - Percolation Tester
Class B - Designer (Standard)
Class C - Designer (Engineered)
Class D - Soil Scientist
Class E - System Contractor
Class F - Liquid Waste Hauler
Class H - System Inspector
Class I -  Construction Inspector

Who can construct an on-site wastewater disposal system (septic system)?

In Delaware, only a Class "E" System Contractor can construct, repair, or modify an on-site wastewater treatment and disposal system.

How do I obtain a Class "A", "B", "C", "D", "E", “F”, “H”, "I" license?

Any person seeking a license shall submit a complete application to the Department and pay the non-refundable application fee.  All applicants for a Class A, B, D, E, F, H & I will be required to pass an examination prepared and administered by the Department.

For a Class “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “E”, “F”, “H” or "I" application click here.

Can I obtain a license to perform work on my own property?

The Department may issue temporary Class “A” (percolation tester), Class “B” (designer-gravity) or Class “E” (system contractor) licenses to property owners who wish to conduct their own percolation testing, system design, or system installation on their property and for their use. Certification of the intended use will be required. The applicant shall submit an application on Department forms along with any required fee and shall demonstrate his competency in those fields by successfully completing a test conducted by the Department. The temporary license shall expire upon completion of work conducted by the applicant for which the permit was issued.

For a Temporary Class “A”, “B” or “E” application, click here.

How far must the septic tank be from the house, patio, pool, shed, etc.?

The septic tank must be a minimum of 10 feet away from any permanent structure, such as the house, pool, shed, porch, etc. This includes the active and reserve disposal area or drain field.

What is the typical turn-around time for the State to review site evaluations and permits?

The actual time can vary, but decisions concerning site evaluations are done within 10 working days unless there is an issue with the information presented. For gravity permit applications, the typical turnaround is also within 10 working days. For engineered systems, except for alternative system types, the turnaround is within 20 working days.

What repairs can a Class “F” Liquid Waste Hauler perform on a septic tank?

The Class “F” Liquid Waste Hauler may repair, add or replace tank risers, baffles and lids, distribution box lids and effluent filters.

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