Septic Tank / OWTS Subject Webpage

This Subject Webpage was updated on July 31, 2018, by Inform Sunol.

Double Click on underlined blue hyperlinks to access related websites, web pages, and documents.


Greywater Systems Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 PM Sunol Glen School

Greywater Action is a collaboration of educators who teach residents and tradespeople about affordable and simple household water systems that dramatically reduce water use and foster sustainable cultures of water. Greywater Action will present greywater design and installation features for the most common household-to-landscape needs, including greywater systems,
rainwater systems, and composting toilets. The presentation will include information on county permitting requirements. Participants are invited to ask questions and bring real-life examples to facilitate discussion of the principles and practices behind these sustainable systems.

Key Definitions:
OWTS = Onsite Water Treatment System
LAMP = Local Area Management Plan
Feasibility Study = Feasibility of a Community Septic System in Sunol
More Definitions (Q&A and FAQ) are available on

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 9.44.10 AMSummary:

  • On the 2nd Tuesday of the month, the Alameda County Commission on Septic Issues hosts community meetings of the Sunol Septic Work Group at Sunol Glen School.

  • Alameda County Environmental Health Land Use Program is the lead permitting agency for all OWTS systems with the subsurface disposal of domestic strength wastewater in unincorporated areas of Alameda County. For information, see the Permitting Process Page

  • Questa Engineering has been contacted by the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health and is conducting a preliminary feasibility study in the Sunol Area.  He sent the following two-page letter to Property Owners in Sunol:

    seeking information along with the Onsite Wastewater Questionaire Survey for Sunol Septic Tank owners.

  • Subscriber responses to Inform Sunol Surveys are included below.
  • This Subject Web Page provides Inform Sunol subscribers with Videos that will help septic tank owners become informed consumers.

Sunol Septic Tank/OWTS:
Archive of Inform Sunol Subscriber Responses to Questionnaires


Septics101 (Full Course): A Guide to Septic System Maintenance from YouTube created for Washington State

For those who missed the Septic Tank 101 meeting in July 2018 or those who need a review on basic Septic Tank savvy, this video funded partially by the EPA and developed by the Washington (State) Department of Health provides a 19-minute overview of Septic Systems and Maintenance.

DISCLAIMER: The reporting rules outlined in this video apply to Washington State (the laws are different than here in California), but the instructions on how to manage one’s own septic tank are applicable to Septic Tank owners and prospective owners.

Septics101 (Full Course): 19 minute Instructional Video

“How often should you pump your septic tank?  

“Knowing when to pump your septic tank is one of the most confusing parts of owning a septic system. A special tool allows you to take care of your system and save money over time,” says the presenter in the following video.

Effective Septic Tank Maintenance starts with understanding how your tank is currently operating and it may better NOT to pump if your system is working properly. 

At the Sunol Septic 101 meeting, Norm introduced a term “Sludge Judge,” a tool for testing a septic tank. This video provides an explanation of what this tool and how it is used.  Be an informed consumer by watching this 8 1/2 minute video:

When Should I Pump My Septic Tank? 8 1/2 Minute Instructional Video

More Septic Tank Maintenance Savvy

In this Washington State, the EPA partially funded this “Septic Tank Inspection” video that provides detailed instructions on how to test a septic tank.  DISCLAIMER: Washington State has different rules than California for Septic Tank Testing, but this video will help you be an informed consumer.  Note how often the presenter says to “call a professional.”

This YouTube Video teaches Washington State Septic Tank Owners how to “Do it Yourself” Septic System Inspection.  Though these rules do not necessarily apply to California, the instructions in Septics 201 (Full Course): DIY Septic System Inspection are covered in 24 minutes:

Septics 201 (Full Course): DIY Septic System Inspection 24 minute Instructional Video

Notes from the July 10th 2018 meeting:
How To Operate And Maintain Your Onsite Wastewater Treatment
(or Septic) System.
Click here for the July 10th 2018 Agenda.
Click here for the Notes from the July 10th, 2018 Meeting.
The handouts from the July 10th Septic 101 meeting are provided here:

June 14, 2018: Draft Scope of Work and Budget for Wastewater Feasibility Study Phase 1 in Sunol for your review.

Inform Sunol Survey Subscriber Responses
RE: Septic Tank / OWTS – As answers are received from the County Land Use group, Inform Sunol will update this report:
Inform Sunol Septic Tank Responses_01Jul18

Alameda County Department of Environmental Health Land Use is accepting Comments and Questions about Septic Tanks/OWTS (see the bottom of the webpage, scroll down to Comments / Questions):

June 5, 2018: Three major documents are released by Alameda County including the LAMP, OWTS County Ordinance, and the OWTS Manual:

Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) Alameda County, California

Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Ordinance, 07-05-2018 Alameda County
To comply with new standards and regulations mandated by the California State Water Resources Control Board and the appropriate California Regional Water Quality Control Board standards and basin plans, Chapter 15.18 is hereby rescinded in its entirety and in its place, the following Chapter 15.18 of the Alameda County General Ordinance Code is adopted:

This Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual provides the procedural and technical details for implementation of the provisions of the Alameda County OWTS Ordinance in Chapter 15.18 of the Alameda County General Ordinance Code:

May 8, 2018 Letter to Sunol Residents from Dilan Roe

Alameda County Environmental Health’s Land Use Program Overview Web Page

April-2016 Public Notice of Draft LAMP:

Areas of Concern in Alameda County:

Map of Alameda County (If you are unsure if your project is in an unincorporated area, please call the Land Use Program help desk at 510-567-6887):

March 17, 2015: Groundwater & Surface Water Protection in California
Presented at the Sunol Citizens Advisory Committee
Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 – 6:30 p.m. at the Sunol Glen Elementary School, located at 11601 Main St, Sunol, CA ( see map)

Alameda County and Sunol OWTS Contacts:

Dilan Roe, Alameda County Land Use Program Manager

Teena Whitmer,  Alameda County Land Use, Local Oversight, & Voluntary Remedial Action Program, Department of Environmental Health

(510) 567-6777
FAX (510) 337-9135

Connie DeGrange, SCAC Council member, is Sunol’s representative to the Alameda County Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) Commission.

Rosemary Chang, SCAC Council member, helps organize Sunol OWTS meetings.