William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 11th Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Questions? Ask Us
NOTE: Some counties provide ground water protection services for their own areas. The online application form is not to be submitted for services requested in the following metropolitan or contact counties:
If you are in need of Ground Water Protection services in any of these counties, please click on the county name for specific information about GWP service provision in that jurisdiction. If you have any questions regarding the online application process, please contact the Division of Ground Water Protection at (615) 532-0761. Click here for a listing of the local GWP office nearest you.
Inspection letters are a non-regulatory service provided by the Division of Ground Water Protection for properties that have existing subsurface sewage disposal systems. This service involves conducting a file review for the property in question and conducting a field visit to assess the function of the subsurface sewage disposal system. The resulting inspection letter consists of two primary parts.
The first section indicates whether the system was observed to be functioning correctly or failing at the time of our visit. Observations of sewage coming onto or being discharged to the surface of the ground would constitute a failing system. The first section of the letter will also indicate whether or not the house appeared vacant. If a structure is or has been vacant for a period of time, an estimation of system performance cannot realistically be made.
The second section of the letter reflects the results of the file review. This section typically contains information relative to the approval of the system and records of past repairs or involvement of staff on the property. This section will also indicate if a file does not exist for the property.
Inspection letters are typically requested in association with real estate transactions, mortgage financing, or subdivision plat approvals.
Permit to Construct New Subsurface Sewage Disposal System
If you are building a structure in which sewage will be generated (residential or commercial) and the property is not served by public sewer, it is necessary to apply for and receive a subsurface sewage disposal system construction permit prior to beginning construction of the structure. Permits are issued if adequate suitable soil exists on the lot or is available to the lot by easement or notice of encroachment to support both a primary system and duplicate system for the anticipated daily flow from the structure. Residential systems are designed based on 150 gallons per day per bedroom. Commercial systems are based on guidelines adopted by the Division or flows from comparable structures. Click here for expected normal sewage flow guidelines for various establishment types.
Permits for lots in subdivisions will be based on available soils data generated at the time of subdivision approval. If the lot is in a subdivision that does not have previous approval, soil mapping performed by a state-approved soils consultant must be conducted prior to permit consideration. If the lot is a non-subdivision lot, an evaluation of soil suitability will be conducted by the local environmental specialist. If adequate, suitable soil is identified through this evaluation a permit will be issued. If the local environmental specialist is unable to identify adequate, suitable soil, the applicant will be advised to employ the services of a state-approved soils consultant to further evaluate the property.
Subsurface Sewage Disposal System Modification Permits
If the property is currently served by a subsurface sewage disposal system and the property owner elects to modify the system or increase the number of bedrooms in the structure, an application for a modification permit must be made. If adequate, suitable soil exists on the property to support the modification to the system and support a duplicate system, a modification permit will be issued. Examples that may involve a system modification include construction (pool , garage, house expansion) in which the construction will impact all or a portion of the existing system or addition of a bedroom to an existing structure.
Modification permits for lots in subdivisions will be based on available soils data generated at the time of subdivision approval if the soils data meets current subdivision approval standards. If the lot is in a subdivision that does not have previous approval or in a subdivision not supported by current-standard soil data, soil mapping performed by a state-approved soils consultant must be conducted prior to permit consideration. If the lot is a non-subdivision lot, an evaluation of soil suitability will be conducted by the local environmental specialist. If adequate, suitable soil is identified through this evaluation a permit will be issued. If the local environmental specialist is unable to identify adequate, suitable soil, the applicant will be advised to employ the services of a state-approved soils consultant to further evaluate the property.
Subsurface Sewage Disposal System Repair Permits
System failures can be caused by numerous variables and all failures do not automatically involve the addition of field line. If your system is not functioning correctly the Division of Ground Water Protection encourages you to apply for a repair permit. There is no charge for the application or resulting field visit by local environmental specialist staff. If repairing the system involves installing new field lines or a new tank, a repair permit is necessary prior to conducting the repair. Often an appropriate repair can be accomplished without the addition of field line. However, if the recommended repair involves the addition of field line or the replacement of a tank, a system construction inspection fee will be assessed.
Application for Ground Water Protection Services may still be mailed in with your payment. You may fill out the online application linked below and then print out the application. You may then mail that application in with your payment.
Other GWP Service Applications Available at the Local GWP Office
The following services typically require front-end consultation with local GWP staff prior to making application: