Septic Systems

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is the regulatory authority for on-site wastewater treatment system (OWTS) permitting in La Plata, Archuleta, and San Juan Counties, and the southwestern portion of Hinsdale County (by Williams Reservoir). SJBPH has regulated OWTS, also known as septic systems, since 1967.

OWTS Permit Search

Search for Existing Owts Permits.

  1. Permits

Anyone who wishes to install, construct, alter, or repair an on-site wastewater treatment system (OWTS) in Archuleta, La Plata, or San Juan Counties is required to first obtain a permit from San Juan Basin Public Health. Learn more about how to obtain an on-site wastewater system permit and prepare for site evaluation:

Please note: submitting an application for the installation of an OWTS does not guarantee a permit on marginal lots; marginal lots may be small in acreage, contain steep slopes, shallow bedrock, shallow groundwater or not meet Setback Requirements (PDF).

Registered Soil Technicians

Updated January 2020

OWTS that will serve commercial properties or multifamily dwellings, and all OWTS located on unsuitable soil, high groundwater, high bedrock, or steep slopes must be designed by a professional engineer. On other sites, anyone may submit a design following a Site and Soil Evaluation, which determines if any of these conditions are present. Site and Soil Evaluations must be performed by Registered Soil Technicians. If you have the necessary qualifications to perform soil evaluations and wish to be added to the registry of Soil Technicians, contact SJBPH at 970-335-2054.

Registered Soil Technicians (PDF)

Licensed Contractors

Updated July 2023

Regulations require that all OWTS be installed by a currently-licensed System Contractor and that the Contractor possess the permit to construct, alter or repair the OWTS, signed by SJBPH, prior to breaking ground. Note: Contractor licenses expire on December 31 and may not have been immediately renewed. Confirm with your contractor that their license is current for the current year.

Licensed Contractors (PDF)

Income-Based Fee Waiver

As of April 1, 2022, permit application fees may be waived for property owners who qualify based on income, and for nonprofits whose mission is substantially connected to housing affordability or stability. Permit application fee waivers are only granted to property owners who are applying for an OWTS permit on the property they own. SJBPH does not accept speculative fee waiver requests or requests from developers or contractors on behalf of a property owner.

If you are a nonprofit organization, fill out the form above, leaving the income sections blank, and provide a copy of your mission statement (or equivalent) and confirmation of your nonprofit status in lieu of income verification.

Instructions and Application for Income-Based Fee Waiver (PDF)

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