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Obtaining a Sewage and/or Well Permit

When can I apply for my well and/or sewage system permits?

Once your have an approved soil evaluation, you may apply for your well and sewage permits. Remember to read the soils approval letter issued by our office to determine site-specific requirements, such as a tank-first or well-first requirement. After you receive your well and sewage permits, you can then apply for your building permits and/or soil erosion permits, if needed.

How do I apply for my well and sewage permits?

To apply for your well and/or sewage permit, you must submit a complete permit application to:
Washtenaw County Environmental Health
705 N. Zeeb Rd., P.O. Box 8645
Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8645
(734) 222-3800

The application must include:
a.  Completed application form
b.  Documentation of permanent street address if new construction (tax bill, township address form, etc.)
c.  10-digit parcel identification number
d.  4 copies of a certified Survey and legal description
e.  2 copies of an accurate Plot Plan

Once these materials are submitted, a Sanitarian will review them and call you within 3-5 business days to either request additional information or to let you know your permits are ready to be picked up from our office. The Sanitarian will also notify you of the fee that you will need to pay when you pick up your permits. Once you have your permits, construction may begin on your well and/or sewage system.

How long are my permits valid?

You have one year from the time your sewage permit is issued to complete construction. After that, the permit must be rewritten and a fee assessed. If changes are made which require a site visit, an additional fee may be required. A sewage permit is not transferable from place to place or person to person. Well permits are valid for one year. Well permits can be reactivated within two years after expiration for 50% of the permit fee.
What inspections are made by Washtenaw County Environmental Health during the construction of my well and sewage system?

Your inspection schedule will be listed on your permit. When you are ready for an inspection, call Environmental Health at (734) 222-3800. All inspections will be made promptly (usually within 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays). Please note that any deviations from your original plans must be approved by Environmental Health before excavation/construction can begin!

Typical inspections include:

  • Well Inspection: Well inspections are conducted during the sewage inspections. No specific appointments are needed for the well permit.
  • Excavation Inspection: An excavation inspection is required on all drainfields. Call Washtenaw County Environmental Health at (734) 222-3800 when the excavation is ready. The Sanitarian must inspect the excavation before you place any sand fill or stone in the drainfield. This inspection ensures that the size and location of the drainfield are appropriate, and ensures that suitable soil conditions are available.
  • Final Inspection: After the field is constructed, the tanks are installed, and before covering any portion of the system, call Washtenaw County Environmental Health. All completed sewage systems must be inspected and approved by Washtenaw County Environmental Health.
  • Final Grading Inspection: Following final inspection, it may be necessary to conduct a final grading inspection, which determines whether there is proper cover over the septic tanks and drainfield, and that surface water is directed away from the installation.
  • Special Inspections: These include tank first, pump system, low flow fixture inspections, and others. See your conditions sheet to determine if these are needed.

What happens after the inspections?

The outcomes of the inspections generally result in a phone call from the Sanitarian, and/or the issuance of a tag:

  • White Tag: Approval of specified inspection. You may proceed to the next step.
  • Blue Tag: Additional information is needed to determine the outcome of the inspection, which may involve consultation with the excavating contractor or Environmental Health staff. A blue tag may or may not result in an additional inspection and/or fee.
  • Red Tag: The system is not properly constructed, or the permit conditions were not followed. The system is not approved until corrections have been made and it is re-inspected. A re-inspection fee will be assessed.
  • Green Tag: Final approval of the system is granted.

Upon completion of the water supply and/or sewage system inspections, a final approval (Certificate of Approval) will be issued when the following conditions are met:

  • All fees have been paid.
  • The sewage system has been approved and a "green tag" issued.
  • All conditions of the well permit have been met, including submittal of the well log and pump record by the well driller, and safe water sample results from water samples submitted by the property owner.

Once these conditions are met, the Certificate of Approval will be forwarded to the appropriate building department. The building department must have this Certificate of Approval on file before they will issue their Certificate of Occupancy!

For more information, please contact:

  • Your Area Sanitarian (based on your Township)
  • Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division - (734) 222-3800


Please note that it is the responsibility of the contractor or owner to contact the Miss Dig 
notification system at 811 or 800-482-7171 and comply with all requirements of the
Miss Dig Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act before starting any excavation work.
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