Virginia Department of Health Outlines AOSS Owner Responsibilities

Recently, the Virginia department of Health sent out a letter to all Alternative Onsite Septic System (AOSS) owners recorded in their files. This letter provided these owners with information regarding their responsibilities for the operation and maintenance of their AOSS systems. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in fines. We've provided a summary of this letter for your convenience.


Compliance Regulations

Legislation approved in 2009 (Acts of Assembly, 2009, Ch.0220) required that the Board of Health promulgate regulations to establish performance requirements and horizontal setbacks for all AOSSs. Commonwealth of Virginia State Board of Health, Emergency Regulations for Alternative Onsite Sewage Systems. These regulations, which include new requirements for the operation and maintenance of all AOSS', can be found online.


The Emergency Regulations for Alternative Onsite Sewage Systems (12 VAC 5-613-120) outline the responsibilities of owner’s of alternative onsite sewage systems. Owners are now required to:


  • Maintain a relationship with an alternative onsite sewage disposal system operator.  A “relationship with an operator” means an agreement between the owner of the system and a licensed operator in which the operator has been retained by the owner to operate the system in accordance with the requirements of the regulations. Operators are required to submit to the health department reports of visits to the alternative system.  The reports will be considered evidence that the owner of a system has a relationship with an operator.

  • Have the AOSS operated and maintained by a licensed operator. A list of licensed operators can be obtained by visiting the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) website at www.dpor.virginia.gov. Select “License Lookup” from the menu, check the “Operators” box under “Onsite Sewage Systems Professionals”, then type an asterisk (*) in the name field and click “search.”

  • Have an operator visit the AOSS at the frequency required by the regulations (system specific).

  • Have an operator collect any samples required by the regulations (system specific).

  • Keep a copy of the maintenance log provided by the operator on the property where the AOSS is located, make the log available to the health department upon request, and transfer the log to any future owner of the property.
  • Keep a copy of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Manual for the AOSS on the property where the system is located, make the manual available to the department upon request, and transfer the O & M Manual to any future owner.