Environmental Health: Sanitarian

Due to high demand for development in Carbon County, be aware that SEPTIC CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS MAY TAKE 60-75 DAYS  once your application has been received (assuming you have completed all other necessary permits first such as Development (Group 1 Residential/Group 2 Commercial), Floodplain, Address/Approach and submitted payment).

Click here to request a copy of an existing Septic Permit or DEQ Approval. Lori Kane will fill requests in the order in which they are received Monday-Thursday.

To conduct your own Septic Permit / DEQ Approval search, you may utilize the ImageSilo program available on the Public computer in the Clerk and Recorder’s office in the County Administration building at 17 W 11th Street in Red Lodge; you should come prepared with the Certificate of Survey / Plat number for the property you are researching (Montana Cadastral is an excellent source for detailed property information).

How to Obtain a New Septic Construction Authorization and Permit in Carbon County:

In order to get a Septic Permit in Carbon County, there are a few items you must have addressed first: A Floodplain Permit from the Carbon County Floodplain Administrator, approval from Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Preservation Program, Carbon County Development Permit from the Planning Department, Carbon County Road Department Road Approach Permit, and Rural Address Assignment from Carbon County Disaster and Emergency Services (see process guide here). For more information contact the individual department you are requesting additional information from.

Only once the above-mentioned permits have been obtained, you are ready to apply for a septic permit. Please be aware that acquiring a Septic Construction Authorization after you have submitted your application may take anywhere from a month to a year or more depending on the complexity of your parcel.  In order to get an initial Construction Authorization and subsequent Permit for a septic system in Carbon County, you must first have an approval statement issued by either the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MTDEQ) or by Carbon County.

If your property is less than 20 acres (not counting county road frontage), it needs to have a Certificate of Subdivision Approval (aka “COSA”) from MTDEQ. This document designates the approved water and wastewater facilities and number and type of structures for the property. It is the responsibility of the developer or current owner to provide copies of these documents to purchasers. You can search Carbon County archives for the MTDEQ approval (here), for a nominal fee. If the property has not been issued an approval statement by MTDEQ you will need to hire a consultant to submit an application to MTDEQ for an approval before a Carbon County septic permit can be applied for. Please know the application process through MTDEQ is a time intensive process (currently around 8 months if no hurdles) that does not involve Carbon County. To contact a consultant that can submit the application on your behalf and answer any questions you have, please see this (list). You may also call MT DEQ at 406-444-4400.

If your property is greater than 20 acres (not counting county road frontage) you need a sanitary approval (Construction Authorization) issued by Carbon County. All properties greater than 20 acres have sanitary restrictions that must be lifted by obtaining a Construction Authorization before any water or wastewater facilities can be constructed. Unless the developer or current owner can provide documentation of a local Carbon County septic permit, an authorized consultant will need to submit plans for water and wastewater approval to Carbon County on your behalf. The data required for an approval can be seen (here) along with the associated (fee schedule). To contact a consultant that can submit the application on your behalf and answer any questions you have, please see this (list). Please know that only systems (including gray water disposal) that are designed by an authorized consultant and approved by Carbon County are allowed. Holding tanks, outhouses, porta-potties, etc. are not allowed in Carbon County.

When a property has an appropriate approval statement as well as all other required county permits (listed in the first paragraph above) and state permits, a Carbon County Septic Application can be submitted (here).  Be prepared to upload a detailed Lot Layout / Site Plan (example found here). It is advised to not drill your well until you have received a Septic Construction Authorization as well location may affect septic permitting. Septic Permit applications are reviewed in the order which they are received. Please allow 60-90 days for your application to be reviewed  and a Construction Authorization to be mailed to you. Completed Construction Authorization documents will be sent to the address provided in the application. Do not begin construction without a valid Construction Authorization form in your possession.  You must provide copies to your Carbon County licensed installer. The contractor can then begin construction and must call 48 hours prior to being ready for an inspection to request an inspection and get it scheduled our calendar (inspections are conducted Mondays – Thursdays only). Upon completion of a compliant septic system inspection, the Sanitarian will issue a Carbon County Septic Permit which you should keep in your permanent records for your home.