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Water Quality

Onsite Wastewater Management Program (Septic Systems)

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Onsite Wastewater Management Program (Septic Systems)

Over 30 percent of Oregonians rely on septic systems for their homes and businesses. DEQ regulates septic system siting, design, installation and maintenance. Without this oversight, septic systems can fail or malfunction, pollute Oregon’s land and waterways with raw sewage and create public health hazards.

  • What you should know about septic systems before you buy undeveloped property or a home with an existing septic system, information on installing a new system and maintaining a system, and signs of system failure.
  • Who to contact: DEQ operates the onsite septic system program in 10 counties, and 26 counties are operated under contract. DEQ and contract counties are also responsible for ensuring that septic tank pumpers have the equipment to safely pump, transport and dispose of the waste from septic systems, known as septage.
  • In addition, DEQ certifies and licenses installers and pumpers, and reviews and approves products such as septic tanks, alternative treatment technologies and alternative drainfield products.
Current News

New site allows users to submit onsite applications online

A new online system allows those applying for septic system permits, site evaluations and authorization notices in the 10 counties where DEQ provides septic services to do so online instead of submitting a paper application in person or through the mail.

The new system allows those applying for septic system permits, site evaluations and authorization notices to do so online instead of submitting a paper application in person or through the mail.

The new system allows users to create an account to track their application and to pay invoices online.

Each DEQ office will have a public kiosk for those who don’t have Internet access or who want help with the process. A help desk is available to anyone who has questions. It can be reached at or by calling 503-373-7396 or 1-800-442-7457.

Fact sheet: DEQ's Onsite E-Permitting

Oregon’s new Onsite Septic System Loan Program for homeowners and small businesses

DEQ now partners with Craft3, a regional nonprofit lender, to offer an affordable Clean Water Loan to repair or replace failing septic systems throughout Oregon. The loan covers the full costs of designing, permitting, installing and maintaining a septic system.

Food cart wastewater disposal

Food carts are booming in Portland. They are also becoming increasingly popular outside of Portland. Food carts are licensed by local environmental health departments, ensuring the food prep process is safe and that the carts do not create public nuisances or health hazards with their wastewater.

DEQ licenses businesses that remove and haul the wastewater generated from food carts. Sometimes this is called graywater disposal, as it does not include wastewater from toilets. However, if someone wants to be in the business of disposing of wastewater generated at food carts, they must be licensed with DEQ as a sewage disposal service. Licensing ensures these businesses have the proper equipment to remove and transport wastewater and haul it to approved facilities.

Oregon Administrative Rules define sewage as “water-carried human and animal wastes, including kitchen, bath and laundry wastes from residence, buildings, industrial establishments, or other places.” A license is required to pump or haul wastewater that is defined as sewage.

If you wish to apply for a license, you must submit a license application packet, with the required fee, to DEQ.

If you have any questions about this license, please call Lisa MacGregor at 541-686-7905.

Oregon Septic Smart!

Are you an onsite industry professional performing septic system inspections? Join a new initiative designed to connect system inspectors with system owners. Visit Septic Smart Pro to learn more about being an inspector with Oregon Septic Smart!

South Deschutes/North Klamath Groundwater Protection Project

South Deschutes/North Klamath Groundwater Protection Project - DEQ is working with the community to better protect the area’s shallow vulnerable groundwater that is used as a primary drinking water source in southern Deschutes and northern Klamath counties.

Direct links to listings of approved CEUs for certified installers and maintenance providers:


Program Topics

Fact Sheets

[print version]

For more information about DEQ's Onsite Wastewater Management Program contact Lisa MacGregor by phone at 541-686-7905 or by email.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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