Septic Systems

Roughly 45% of the households in Cayuga County depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater. Septic systems that are properly planned, designed, sited, installed, operated, and maintained can provide excellent wastewater treatment for many years and can protect public health, preserve valuable water resources, and maintain economic vitality in a community. They are a cost-effective and long-term option for treating wastewater, particularly in less densely populated areas. Septic systems that are poorly designed, installed, operated or maintained can cause problems and negatively impact water quality.

A failing septic system

For information regarding how a septic system works, its components and proper maintenance consult the New York State Department of Health

Septic systems are regulated by the Cayuga County Health Department under the Cayuga County Sanitary Code.

The requirements outlined in the Sanitary Code include the following:

  • All septic systems must be inspected on a routine basis.
  • Septic systems must be inspected and the septic tanks pumped out at the time of a property transfer.
  • No septic systems may be installed, modified, or repaired without prior approval of the Health Department.
  • All contractors who install, modify, or repair septic systems must be registered with the Health Department.
  • The Health Department requires that any septic system that is failing (i.e. discharging wastewater to the ground surface or to a waterbody) must be repaired or replaced.
  • The Health Department will investigate any complaints regarding a potentially failing septic system.

Review more information regarding Cayuga County’s Septic System Program

Individuals with questions are encouraged to call the Cayuga County Health Department at 315-253-1405 or email them.