Septic System Information

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FOR ALL QUESTIONS NOT ADDRESSED ON THIS PAGE ABOUT SEPTICS AND ANY MATTERS PERTAINING TO SEPTICS:

  1. Before contacting the Health Inspector, please scroll to the bottom of this web page and read the "Septic System FAQs". This document was created to address the most common questions about septics. If the document answers your question, you will not need to contact the inspector. 
  2. If you do not see an answer to your questions in the aforementioned document, please contact the Health Inspector as follows:
  • EMAIL THE HEALTH INSPECTOR WITH SEPTIC-RELATED QUESTIONS ONLY: septics@co.bergen.nj.us
  • CALL THE REHS DUTY OFFICER LINE: 201-634-2730 WITH QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, SEPTIC OR OTHERWISE. If they are away from the phone please leave a message. 

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE ON 201-405-7714. This line is no longer in service

NJ State Code specifies that a Plan Review may take up to 30 days. The Health Department makes every effort to complete Plan Reviews expeditiously; however, ALL applications to the Health Department are reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis to be fair to all residents. Therefore, if you submit architectural or septic plans, please understand the turn-around is not immediate. All plan reviews will be completed within 30 days.  Also, please keep in mind that if you submit a REVISED plan, that plan also has a 30 day window. 

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CONTINUED CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY (CCO) PROCESS:

(Please read all of this information if you are selling your home)

The purpose of the Continued Certificate of Occupancy is to ensure that the property meets basic safety requirements.

In order to avoid any miscommunication or unnecessary delays in obtaining a CCO for your property, please follow the process set forth below and note the various timeframes and requirements.

1. SUBMIT CCO APPLICATION FORM AND FEE TO THE FIRE PREVENTION OFFICE

The CCO application can be found on the Borough website here: https://www.oakland-nj.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif1026/f/uploads/cco_application_updated_-_2020.pdf

This should be done at least 45 days before a closing, and should be done as soon as possible when the seller decides to sell the property, since the time varies to complete the many steps that follow.

NOTE: A CCO Inspection CANNOT be scheduled unless all Building Permits are closed, any required septic work has been completed and approved by the Health Inspector, property taxes have been paid up-to-date, and water and sewer fees have been paid up-to-date.

2. CLOSE OUT OPEN BUILDING PERMITS

It is not permitted for open building permits to remain on a property being sold.The Fire Prevention Assistant will check to see if there are any open Building Permits for the property.  If there are open permits, the seller must close out the permits with the Building Department and then notify the Fire Prevention Assistant that they have done so.

3. HAVE YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTED AND REPAIRED / REPLACED AS NEEDED.

Septic repairs and replacements have the longest lead time so the seller should start as quickly as possible to avoid possible delays in closings.

 A. HAVE THE SEPTIC INSPECTED BY A SEPTIC INSPECTION COMPANY

The septic inspection may be obtained by the seller or the buyer. In the interest of saving time in the CCO process, the seller may wish to have the septic inspected immediately, rather than waiting for a buyer to do so.

The septic inspection report must be submitted to the Health Inspector. The Health Inspector can then determine if the septic is approved for the CCO, if the septic requires a repair, or if the septic must be replaced.

The Borough of Oakland does not license septic inspectors, therefore, the Borough cannot recommend any particular septic inspectors.

If the septic must be repaired, a licensed Oakland contractor can do the repair. There is a list of licensed contractors on the website at https://www.oakland-nj.org/board-health/pages/septic-system-information.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to access the list in pdf form

If the septic must be replaced the home may not be sold until the seller replaces the septic.  A licensed Oakland contractor can do the repair after the Health Inspector approves a septic plan designed by a septic engineer.

B. IF A SEPTIC MUST BE REPLACED, A TEST HOLE MUST BE SCHEDULED & A TEST HOLE PERMIT MUST BE OBTAINED

The test hole will be scheduled between the Septic Engineer and the Health Inspector. The property owner does not schedule it. 

The Engineer should inform the property owner that he or she must get a Test Hole Permit from the Health Department. The owner will pay for the test hole permit by submitting $350.00 to the Health Department and specifying the property address for the test hole. 

C. SEPTIC ENGINEER MUST DESIGN A PLAN

Oakland does not license septic engineers, therefore, the Borough cannot recommend any particular septic engineer.  The septic engineer needs time to design a plan before submitting it to the Health Inspector.  He or she will then submit the plan to the Health Inspector for review.

D. THE SEPTIC PLAN MUST BE REVIEWED AND APPROVED BY THE HEALTH INSPECTOR

The Health Inspector has up to 30 days to review a plan, per the NJ State Septic Code.  Plans are stamped by date when they are received and will be reviewed within 30 days after that date.  The Health Inspector receives many plans for review, including building plans, septic plans, plans for Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment applications.  To be fair to all residents, all plans are reviewed in the order in which they are received.  Plans may not be expedited for review before plans that were previously submitted.  The Health Inspector makes every effort to review all of the plans as quickly as possible so it is quite possible that they will be reviewed in fewer than 30 days.  However, this cannot be guaranteed and the Health Inspector will not be able to provide a time estimate given the unknowns involved with reviewing each plan.  

When your plan has been reviewed, the Health Inspector will email the septic engineer to notify him or her if the Plan was approved or rejected.

If the plan is rejected the septic engineer will need time to revise the plans with the appropriate changes and submit them to the Health Inspector for review. The Health Inspector then has up to 30 days to review this second plan.

If the plan is approved the Health inspector will let the septic engineer know what is required for that particular septic, and the septic engineer will let the seller know that he or she may now get an Oakland-licensed septic contractor to do the job.  There is a list of licensed contractors on the website at https://www.oakland-nj.org/board-health/pages/septic-system-information.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to access the list in pdf form

E. THE SEPTIC CONTRACTOR THEN REQUESTS A PERMIT FOR THE SEPTIC REPLACEMENT

If the septic plan was approved, all of the documentation required by the Health Inspector (as provided to the septic engineer) must be submitted by the contractor to the Health Department with the permit application and permit fee.  If certain documents such as a Deed Restriction, Maintenance Agreement or an Electrical Permit are required, they are all to be included in the application packet from the contractor with the Application Form and Permit.

F. THE CONTRACTOR INSTALLS THE NEW SEPTIC SYSTEM AND IT IS INSPECTED BY THE HEALTH INSPECTOR AND CONSTRUCTION DEPARTMENT

Once the permit has been issued to the contractor, the septic installation may take place.It is the contractor’s responsibility to schedule and attend any inspections with the Health Inspector, and to obtain any needed permits and inspections from the Construction Office.

If the septic installation is deemed satisfactory, the Health Inspector will approve the installation and then notify the Fire Prevention Office Secretary, who will then call the contact person listed on the CCO form to schedule a CCO inspection.

4. FIRE PREVENTION WILL THEN SCHEDULE THE CCO INSPECTION

Inspection are scheduled for the next available time slot and will typically take place within a few workdays of when notification is received from the Health Department.

5. DURING THE CCO INSPECTION

The CCO inspection itself takes about 30 minutes to complete.If the property passes inspection, the CCO will be issued on the spot and you will then have it for your property closing.

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SUBMISSION OF MATERIALS TO THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT:

Regardless of method of submission, all submissions to the Health Department must include ALL required materials and fees in one packet in order to be processed.

All submissions are processed on a first-come-first-served basis, therefore permits and other documentation will not be immediately issued upon submission. 

METHODS OF SUBMISSION:

THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT DROPBOX

The Health Department Dropbox is located in the back of One Municipal Plaza in the downstairs vestibule inside the glass door. Please be sure all required materials are in the packet or it will be placed on our bulletin board (also in the vestibule) for you to pick up and complete.

IN-PERSON DROP-OFF

You may drop off complete packets (all required documentation and any fees due) at the Health Department window. Please be sure all required materials are in the packet or it will be placed on our bulletin board in the downstairs vestibule for you to pick up and complete.

MAIL-IN

You may also mail materials to: Borough of Oakland, Health Department, One Municipal Plaza, Oakland, NJ 07436. Please send all of the required materials and/or fees in one packet so it can be processed. Incomplete packets or materials will be tacked to the bulletin board in the downstairs vestibule for you to pick up, complete and resubmit for processing.

DO NOT EMAIL OR FAX - please do not email or fax materials without fees and/or other items that are required to be with them.  Please fax or email stand-alone items ONLY that require no additional items or fees.

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SUBMITTING SEPTIC PLANS  FOR REVIEW BY THE HEALTH INSPECTOR:

The engineer who designed the plan will submit the plan to the Health Inspector, and she will contact the Engineer when she has reviewed the plan with an approval or a rejection. If you are a homeowner, buyer or seller and would like a status update on your Engineer's plan, please contact the Engineer to see if he or she has been contacted by the Health Inspector. The Engineer is the Health Inspector's point-of-contact for septic plan reviews, so he or she would be the person for you to contact for any updates. Per Code the plans will be reviewed within 30 days of receipt. All submissions are reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis only. 

See "Minimum Required Distance of Septic Components" table at bottom of page for distances required.

SUBMITTING ARCHITECTURAL PLANS FOR REVIEW BY THE HEALTH INSPECTOR:

If you are going to make architectural additions or changes to your property and you need the Health Inspector's approval to do so, please submit the following to the Health Department in one packet: Architectural Plan Review Form (see form at bottom of this web page to print out), a check made payable to Borough of Oakland for $80, and the plans. The plans must show the septic. Per Code the plans will be reviewed within 20 business days of the Health Department's reciept of all required materials. All submissions are reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis only. 

See "Minimum Required Distance of Septic Components" table at bottom of page for distances required.

SUBMITTING SEPTIC REPAIR PERMIT APPLICATIONS:

The Oakland-licensed contractor must submit both a Septic Permit Application form (as of 3/17/2021) and a Septic Repair Application form with the accompanying fee to our dropbox, in-person or by mail. Upon the Health Inspector's approval, a permit will be issued to the contractor.

To get the Septic Permit Application Form and the Repair Application Form, please scroll down to the documents at the bottom of this page. 

SUBMITTING SEPTIC INSTALLATION PERMIT APPLICATION PACKETS:

The Oakland-licensed septic installation contractor may only submit the required documentation and fee for a septic permit after the Health Inspector has approved the septic plan submitted by the septic engineer.  The engineer is notified by the Health Inspector when the plan is approved or rejected.         

PLEASE NOTE: Septic installation permits will only be issued to the owner of the business that is licensed to install septics in Oakland. Septic Installation licenses are non-transferrable. NO WORK IS TO BE DELEGATED TO A SUBCONTRACTOR OR OTHER ENTITY. The licensee must be present at all inspections or the inspection will not be conducted. 

PLEASE NOTE: ALL materials for a septic installation permit MUST be submitted together with payment in one packet with the Septic Permit Application Form (required as of 3/17/2021) by the contractor. 

PLEASE NOTE FOR SEPTIC INSTALLATIONS WITH ATUs ONLY: 1. An installation with and ATU requires a Deed Restriction. For your convenience, there is a template that you or your attorney may access at the bottom of this page. We cannot assist you in completing a Deed Restriction, as it is a legal document and we are not qualified to give legal advice; and, 2. An installation with an ATU requires you to have a NEHA-Certified installer physically present at all times during installation of an advanced pre-treatment device and to either install or directly oversee the installation of the advanced pre-treatment device. He or she must also be present at the inspection of the vacuum test/water tightness test of the pre-treatment device. If you do not have a NEHA Certification, you must submit a letter in your application packet from a NEHA-Certified Oakland-Licensed Septic Installer stating that he or she will perform the aforementioned requirements for your job and the letter must state the address of the property where the installation will take place. If he or she does not comply, an inspection will not be conducted. 

After obtaining the Health Inspector's approval for the septic plan, the Oakland-licensed contractor must collect all documentation that is then required by the Health Inspector and submit it, in one complete packet along with any fees due, via the Health Department Dropbox, by mail, or in-person at the Health Department service window.. Incomplete packets will be tacked to the bulletin board in the lower-level vestibule for the contractor to pick up for completion. Complete packets will be processed and issued on a first-come-first-served basis only. CONTRACTORS PLEASE NOTE: You must keep track of the expiration for your documents and submit updated documenation for your liability insurance, bond, contractor's license, and NEHA Certification (if applicable). Expired documentation would result in your permit being delayed until the current documentation is submitted by you. 

To get the Septic Permit Application form and the checklist for applying to install a septic with an atu, please scroll down to the documents at the bottom of this page. 

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HOW TO BECOME A SEPTIC INSTALLER IN OAKLAND:

If you have not taken the Installer's Examination, you may make an appointment with the Health Department Secretary to do so. The exam costs $100.00, payable at the time of the exam. You may study for the exam by reviewing the State Septic Code N.J.A.C 7: 9a (see link above). If you pass the exam, you will then need to apply for an Installer's License by submitting the required packet of information and accompanying fee for the current year via our dropbox, in-person or via mail. If the application is complete you will be issued a license. If you plan on installing septics that require an alternate treatment unit, you must obtain your NEHA-Certification as well. If you cannot become NEHA-Certified, you will need to have a NEHA-Certified installer who is licensed in Oakland to oversee all of your installations with alternate treatment units.

See "Septic Installer's License Application Form" below for application form.

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LICENSED SEPTIC CONTRACTORS AND PUMPERS:

LICENSED SEPTIC CONTRACTORS

  • Only Septic Contractors licensed to work in the Borough of Oakland (see list below) may repair, alter and construct septic systems in Oakland, and ALL WORK MUST BE PERMITTED AND INSPECTED by the Health Department. PLEASE NOTE: Septic Inspections must be scheduled with the Health Inspector, who must be given at least 12 hours notice for an inspection appointment. 
  • Septic Contractor's Licenses require complete renewal application packets to be submitted to the Health Department anually.

Scroll to bottom of page for list of Licensed Septic Contractors.

LICENSED SEPTIC PUMPERS

  • Only Licensed Septic Pumpers licensed to work in the Borough of Oakland (see list below) may pump septic systems in Oakland. 
  • Septic Pumper's Licenses require complete renewal application packets to be submitted to the Health Department anually.

Scroll to bottom of page for list of Licensed Septic Pumpers.