&EPA
      United States
      Environmental Protection
      Agency
       Underground Injection
        Control Program
WHEN  IS  A  SEPTIC  SYSTEM
REGULATED AS A CLASS  V WELL?
Audience:   This fact sheet is for state, tribal, and local regulators; health
             department officials; environmental quality officers; and other persons
             who design, track, inspect, or issue permits for septic systems.

Purpose:    To help identify when a septic system would be regulated as a Class V
             well.
           DEFINITIONS
    SANITARY WASTE

    Sanitary waste is liquid or solid waste
    originating solely from humans and
    human activities, such as waste collected
    from toilets, showers, wash basins, sinks
    used for cleaning domestic areas, sinks
    used for food preparation, clothes
    washing operations, and sinks or
    washing machines where food and
    beverage-serving dishes, glasses, and
    utensils are cleaned  (40 CFR 144.3).
    INDUSTRIAL OR
    COMMERCIAL WASTE

    For the purpose of this fact sheet,
    industrial or commercial waste can
    include, but is not limited to, any waste
    that results from manufacturing or other
    industrial and commercial processes.
    CLASS V WELLS
    Class V wells are typically shallow
    "wells," such as shallow disposal
    systems and dry wells, used to place a
    variety of fluids directly below the land
    surface (40 CFR 144.80 (e)).
   WELLS OR INJECTION WELLS

   A well or injection well is a bored,
   drilled, or driven shaft, or dug hole,
   whose depth is greater than its largest
   surface dimension; an improved sinkhole;
   or a subsurface fluid distribution system
   used to discharge fluids underground
   (40 CFR 144.3).
         WHY IS EPA CONCERNED ABOUT SEPTIC
         SYSTEMS?

              Septic systems are commonly found in rural and suburban areas where
              populations also rely on ground water for drinking water. Many septic
         systems are
         located in close
         proximity to
         private drinking
         water wells or
         public water
         systems that
         use ground
         water sources.
         When septic
         systems are
         properly sited,
         designed,
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                                                                 Ground Water
         constructed, and operated, they pose a minimal threat to drinking water
         sources. Alternatively, poorly designed, maintained, and operated septic
         systems can contaminate ground water and surface water with nutrients,
         toxic chemicals, and pathogens.

         Septic systems are designed solely to treat sanitary waste. The disposal of
         industrial or commercial waste into a septic system can seriously inhibit
         wastewater treatment and cause the system to fail. More important,
         chemicals can pass through the system, enter the ground water, and pose
         a serious contamination threat. This was the case at a shopping center
         in Virginia.

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   WHAT WENT WRONG?

   A contractor conducting routine sampling found high levels of two
   solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), in the septic
   system leach field of a shopping center in Virginia.  Nearby private drinking
   water wells were also found to be contaminated. If consumed, TCE and
   PCE have the potential to  cause liver damage and cancer in humans. As a
   result, homes and businesses affected by the contamination were forced to
   abandon their drinking water wells and switch to bottled water until they
   could be connected to a public water system. The source of contamination
   was linked to businesses inside the shopping center that improperly
   disposed of their commercial wastewater into the septic system. These
   businesses were, therefore, responsible for funding the costly cleanup,
   which could have been avoided if they had properly disposed of their
   commercial wastewater.

WHEN IS  A SEPTIC SYSTEM REGULATED AS A CLASS V WELL?

   EPA is directed by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to establish minimum federal requirements for state* and
   tribal Underground Injection Control (UIC) Programs to protect underground sources of drinking water from
contamination caused by underground injection  activities. Protection includes the oversight of construction,
operation, and closure of injection wells. A septic system** is required to meet UIC Program requirements and is
considered a Class V well if either one of the following conditions is met:

      The septic system, regardless of size, receives any amount of industrial or commercial wastewater (also known
       as industrial waste disposal wells or motor vehicle waste disposal wells); or

      The septic system receives solely sanitary waste from multiple family residences or a non-residential
       establishment and has the capacity to serve 20 or more  persons per day (also known as large-capacity
       septic systems).
WHAT  ARE THE MINIMUM FEDERAL  REQUIREMENTS  FOR CLASS V WELLS?
O
wners or operators of industrial waste disposal wells and large-capacity septic systems must meet state* and
federal requirements. The minimum federal requirements for Class V wells are:
      1. Obey the non-endangerment performance standard prohibiting injection that allows the movement of fluids
        containing any contaminant into underground sources of drinking water, if the presence of that contaminant
        may cause a violation of any primary drinking water regulation or adversely affect public health; and

      2. Provide inventory information (including facility name and location, legal contact name and address,
        ownership information, nature and type of injection wells, and operating status of the injection wells) to the
        state or EPA regional UIC Program.
        States may have additional or more stringent requirements.
        Single family residential septic systems and non-residential septic systems that are used solely for sanitary waste and
        have the capacity to serve fewer than 20 persons a day are excluded from the UIC requirements (40 CFR 144.81(9)).

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WHAT ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS APPLY TO SEPTIC SYSTEMS THAT
RECEIVE MOTOR VEHICLE WASTE?
 In 1999, EPA published the Class V rule, which requires owners and operators of motor vehicle waste disposal (MVWD)
 i
I wells to meet the following additional requirements:

     New MVWD wells are banned as of April 2000.
      Therefore, motor vehicle maintenance and repair
      facilities can no longer construct or install wastewater
      disposal devices that allow service wastewater to
      enter sinks and floor drains connected to septic
      systems.

     Existing wells in regulated areas are banned and are
      required to be closed by January 2007. States and EPA
      regions may allow some facilities to continue
      operating their wells under a UIC permit or, in limited
      cases, to convert them to another type of well.
      Contact the appropriate EPA regional or state UIC
      Program to determine what areas are regulated in
      your state.
                                                         MOTOR VEHICLE WASTE
                                                         DISPOSAL WELLS	

                                                         Shallow waste disposal systems that receive or have
                                                         received fluids from vehicle repair or maintenance
                                                         activities, such as auto body or automotive repair,
                                                         car dealerships, or other vehicular repair work, are
                                                         required to meet additional protective requirements.
WHERE MIGHT YOU FIND A SEPTIC SYSTEM  OPERATING AS  A CLASS V
WELL?
facilities whose septic systems may receive industrial or commercial wastes include:
      Electroplating Shops
      Mortuaries
      Beauty Salons
                                       Dry Cleaning Operations
                                       Taxidermy Shops
                                       Print Shops
Photo Processing Operations
Food Processing Operations
Car Washes
WHAT CAN  YOU, AS A LOCAL OFFICIAL,  DO  IF YOU  FIND A SEPTIC
SYSTEM OPERATING AS A CLASS V WELL?
If you have, or think you may have, identified a septic system that receives industrial or commercial waste, you should
contact the appropriate EPA regional or state UIC Program. UIC officials can offer advice and assistance with your
concerns. A list of UIC Program contacts is available at www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/states.html.

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WHEN IS A SEPTIC SYSTEM REGULATED AS A CLASS V INJECTION WELL?


This fact sheet is for state, tribal, and local regulators; health department
officials; environmental quality officers; and other persons who design,
track, inspect, or issue permits for septic systems. The purpose of this fact
sheet is to help identify when a septic system would be regulated as a
Class V well.
  FOR MORE INFORMATION...

  UIC and Class V Wells

  What is the UIC Program? Web site:
  www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/whatis.html

  Shallow Injection Wells (Class V) Web site:
  www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/classv.html

  General Information:
  SDWA Hotline: 1-800-426-4791

  UIC Program Contact Web site:
  www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/states.html

  EPA's Onsite/Decentralized Wastewater Treatment
  Systems Web site:
  www.epa.gov/owm/mtb/decent/
     Office of Ground Water and
     Drinking Water (4606M)
     EPA816-F-03-002
     www.epa.gov/safewater


     June 2003
Recycled/Recyclable  Printed with Vegetable Oil Based Inks on
 100% Postconsumer, Process Chlorine Free Recycled Paper

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