Outside Odessa City Limits, a Septic Tank Permit is Required

Outside Odessa City Limits, a Septic Tank Permit is Required

by: Justin Kree

NewsWest 9

ODESSA- Anyone living in Ector County needs a permit for their septic tank, many residents don't realize they are breaking the law if they replace their old system with a new one before getting that permit.

"We're seeing a lot of existing systems that are being overused. People generally don't understand the septic rules require new permits for septic systems. That would be one word we want to get out to the citizens," Olberts said.

Greg Olberts with the Ector County Health Department tells NewsWest 9 that some of the current septic systems can't handle the new homes or R.V. Parks that currently use it. Compared to what was using it when it was first installed.

"They start putting more sewage into the tank and drain field, it's called hydraulic overloading where the system can't handle it any longer. Gravity takes over and the fluid starts to either come back into the residence or through the drain field itself and surfacing," Olberts said.

If you live in the city of Odessa septic tanks are not allowed at all.

"Anyone in the city is connected to the city sanitary sewer system. So septic systems aren't allowed in the city. It's outside the city limits we regulate," Olberts said.

If you don't get a permit before installing a new system, you could be looking at a fine bigger than the permit itself.

"If they went through the trouble of putting in a new system, maybe what would be a legal system if we inspected it, if they get caught we would have them uncover the entire system. It's really a good idea not to do that but to talk with people and to talk with us to understand what the permitting process is," Olberts said.

Olberts tells NewsWest 9 that the older septic tanks start backing up more when it starts to rain.