Septic Systems

Chapter 9A Septic System Review (New Construction & Alterations)
The Environmental Planning Section works closely with the licensed sanitary inspectors in the Environmental Services Division in reviewing septic systems plans for compliance with Chapter 9A requirements. A representative from the Planning Section performs soil test pit witnesses prior to septic system plans being prepared by a New Jersey-licensed engineer. The soil witness gives the Health Department representative the opportunity to evaluate the soils for suitability for development with an on-site wastewater disposal system. Of primary concern to the Health Department staff is whether the subject site has water table or permeability restrictions that may lead to a septic system malfunction and/or environmental degradation if the septic system is not properly designed.

A complete copy of the Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems (PDF) (NJAC 7:9A) is available.

The Environmental Planning staff also reviews proposed septic system plans for compliance with other regulatory jurisdictions, such as the Cape May County Planning Board, Pinelands Commission, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), Divisions of Land Use Regulation (for freshwater wetlands), Division of Coastal Regulation (for saltwater wetlands) and the Division of Water Quality (for treatment works approvals).

New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) Permit
The Environmental Planning staff reviews draft NJPDES permits when they are sent to the County Health Department for review and comment. Specifically, the Health Department's primary concern is the potential for environmental degradation or threat to public health that may result from a proposed NJPDES permit project. In addition, when monitoring well data and NJDEP Compliance Evaluation Inspections are received by the County Health Department, the Environmental Planning Section reviews these documents to monitor compliance of the NJPDES project with the original permit conditions.

The NJDEP, Division of Environmental Planning, reviews NJPDES permit applications for, among other things, compliance with the area-wide Water Quality Management (208) Plan. Because the Environmental Planning Section is involved in the administration of the On-Site Wastewater Disposal (Septic) Systems Management Program and the Wastewater Management Program of Cape May County's 208 Plan, the staff work closely with the NJDEP to determine compliance of a proposed NJPDES project with the county's 208 Plan.

Water Quality Management (208) Plan
The County 208 Plan was certified by the NJDEP on August 11, 1980, and approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 26, 1980. This plan was in response to provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, which called for comprehensive programs for water pollution control and a grant process to fund the development of the plan and subsequent amendments. Cape May County's 208 Plan focuses on nonpoint sources of pollution, primarily on-site sewage disposal systems.

The Environmental Planning staff administers the On-Site Wastewater Disposal (Septic) Systems Management Program. This program includes the review of all subdivisions and site plans in un-sewered areas for compliance with the 208 Plan's minimum lot size requirement. In addition, the Planning staff administers the Cape May County Wastewater Management Program which consists of assisting the 208 Program Manager in the preparation and approval process of amendments to the 5 county regional wastewater management plans. Also, the staff coordinates with the Municipal Utilities Authorities when questions arise as to whether or not proposed subdivisions and site plans are located within sewer service areas.

The 2007 Waste Water Management Plan (PDF) for Cape May County was submitted for review by NJDEP in September 2007. Therefore, this plan is not considered approved until such time that the NJDEP agrees to all aspects of the plan.

Subdivision / Site Plan Review
The Environmental Planning staff review all subdivisions and site plans in un-sewered areas for compliance with Cape May County's minimum lot size requirements under the County's 208 Plan. The staff coordinates closely with the County Planning Board staff and writes review letters for projects, as required. In addition, no septic system permits are issued by the County Health Department for new lots and/or site plans unless approval has been obtained from the 208 Program Manager.