Permits, Licenses and Reports
Because incorrectly installed septic tanks can harm water quality and make people sick, South Carolina law requires
site approvals and permits for all septic systems for new construction. South Carolina also requires septic tank
pros to obtain a license before installing, operating or servicing septic tanks or hauling solid waste.
Permit Needed for New Home (or Mobile Home) Septic Tank System
If you are planning to build a home or place a mobile home on property not served by a public or community sewer
system, you must first get DHEC's approval and a permit to install a septic tank. Without this permit, your county
will not be able to issue you a building permit.
Application Fee: $150
Permit Expiration and Modifications: Permits are good for five years. To renew your permit after five years or
to make changes to it once approved, you will need to complete a new application and pay the fee again.
Step 1: Read and fully complete the Onsite Wastewater System
Application and then submit to your local DHEC Office. Applications may also be picked up from your local office.
Step 2: A DHEC staff member (or in the three cases mentioned above, a county government
employee) will process your application, making sure all the necessary paperwork is included. If everything is
in order, the staff member will accept your application fee and you'll be given a sign and instructions for
marking off your lot.
Step 3: The inspector will visit your building site to evaluate its suitability for a septic
tank. If the inspector approves your site for a traditional septic tank system, he or she will issue you a
permit to construct. If the inspector does not approve the permit, he or she will discuss possible alternatives.
Step 4: Once your plan is approved, you must contact a licensed septic tank installer. Request a
DHEC list of licensed installers.
Step 5: Once your septic tank has been installed, notify the DHEC inspector. The inspector will
revisit your site with one to two business days, this time to inspect the septic tank installation. If he or she
approves the installation quality, you'll be given a permit to operate your septic system.
The fee and permit are authorized by these regulations:
Licenses and Reporting Requirements for Septic Tank Professionals
If you install, clean, or repair septic systems or if you haul and dispose of solid waste from septic tanks and
portable toilets, you must be licensed by DHEC, and renew your license each year.
Download and complete the application form (pdf) for a septic
tank license, then either print it out and mail it to or take it by your local DHEC Environmental Health office.
There are three versions of the license for work on septic tanks and portable toilets:
- License to construct — $100
- License to clean — $100
- License to construct and clean — $150
You must pay these fees each year in order to renew your license. If we don't receive your payment by the due
date, we add late fees.
Your license to work on septic tanks or haul solid waste will expire if you fail to pay your renewal fees, and
late fees that may be due, within 90 days of the due date.
The first time you apply for a license to work with septic tanks and/or solid waste disposal, you must pass an
exam that tests your understanding of Regulation
If you do not pass this test, you can retake it in 30 days. If you fail to pass a second time, you can wait 60
days and retake the exam a third time.
Once you are granted a license, you will not have to retake the test so long as you pay the annual license
renewal fees within 30 days of the due date. But if you allow your license to expire, you will have to repeat
the new license process from the beginning.
Other License Requirements
Vehicle Inspection: DHEC has the right to inspect all vehicles used to pump and transport
sewage. You must keep this vehicle inventory list up to date and on file with DHEC.
Disposal Facilities List Required: You must submit a list of the sewage disposal facilities you
intend to use, along with written permission from those facilities.
Record of Activities Required: For each vehicle, you must maintain a log (record) of each
pumping and disposal load. You must make this record of activities available to DHEC upon request.
These licensing requirements and fees are authorized under License to Construct or Clean
OnsiteSewage Treatment and Disposal Systems and Self-Contained Toilets (R. 61-56.1)