Rockingham County Health and Human Services
Felissa Ferrell
Director of Health and Human Services
Felissa Ferrell
Director of Social Services
Susan Young, BSN,RN
Interim Health Director

Rockingham County Seal
Septic Permitting Process


The purchase of property is an important financial investment that requires knowledge of land resources.  For a system to function properly it must be installed in a soil that is capable of treating and disposing the amount of wastewater generated by the facility the system is serving.  Before purchasing a piece of property it is recommended to have it evaluated for suitability for an on-site wastewater system.


There are 3 different permits in the septic permitting process, Improvement Permit, Construction Authorization, and Operation Permit. 

  1. Improvement Permit: The IP determines if the soil and site are suitable for a subsurface septic system. This permit is transferable.
  2. Construction Authorization: The CA allows the system to be installed and allows for application for building and zoning permit.  This permit is not transferable and is tied to the design of the septic system.
  3. Operation Permit: The OP is issued once the system has been installed correctly.  A Certificate of Occupancy and electric power will not be issued until you have a valid Operation Permit.

The first step of the permitting process before applying for your Improvement Permit is to generate a complete site plan for your lot.  The site plan should show the location of the house on the property, location of driveways, proposed out-buildings, pools, creeks, wetlands, etc. 


Once you have a site plan, you can apply for an Improvement Permit and Construction Authorization from Environmental Health.  Before a specialist will come to evaluate your property the property lines, corners and house location must all be clearly identified in the field.  It is also helpful to remove heavy vegetation from the site.  The Improvement Permit and Construction Authorization may be applied for at the same time. 


Once the site is approved for an on-site septic system, the Construction Authorization can be issued showing the type of system, location of the system on the property, and size of the system.  Once the system is correctly installed, the department will issue the Operation Permit.



Environmental Health is responsible for ensuring that existing systems continue to function correctly in order to prevent threats to public health. 


When a septic system fails effluent can no longer be absorbed into the soil.  Instead it surfaces on the ground, which causes a public health nuisance.  We investigate failing systems and troubleshoot to detect problems and find solutions for repairs. 


The permitting process for a septic repair is similar to the process for a new lot, with the exception of being exempt from fees.  For no charge a specialist will come to your property after you have made an application, investigate your problem, and come up with a feasible solution. 


We also investigate complaints about failing systems.  These complaints can be filed by calling our office, and can be done anonymously.  Once a complaint is filed we act quickly to get the issue resolved.


If your lot has an existing septic system and you wish to build a new home or move a manufactured home onto your lot you have an option to reconnect to the system.  In order to do so you must apply in our office for a reconnect permit.  Our office will evaluate the existing system and write a permit to reconnect to the system if found to be in compliance.  You will not be able to get a building permit or move a home onto your lot until you have a permit from Environmental Health.     

      Environmental Health Director
      Environmental Health Specialist
      Environmental Health Specialist
      Environmental Health Programs Coordinator
      Environmental Health Specialist
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      Rockingham County Health and Human Services
      371 NC 65 Wentworth, North Carolina 27375 | Phone: 336-342-8140 | Fax: 336-342-8356 | Contact Us
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