Sewage and Septic Safety
Part of Northwest Michigan’s allure is its beauty and clean natural resources. Proper permitting and maintenance of residential septic and sewage systems are essential to ensuring this for our futures. Regular inspections and permits help prevent system failures that can lead to environmental contamination and public health hazards. By adhering to set guidelines, we can safeguard our community and natural resources.
Getting A Sewage System
Prior to installing a sewage (septic) system, HDNW works with the property owner to evaluate the site and issue a permit. A final review provides assurance that the system will operate as intended. To apply for a permit, please complete one of the below applications.
Remodel, Change, or Repair Existing Sewage System
Insert for second sentence: This application is ONLY necessary if there is an existing system on the property and the demands on that system will be changing.
Residential Site Evaluation
A site evaluation (previously called "perk test") is the first step in determining if an existing or proposed land parcel without municipal wastewater services (city sewer) can be considered for an onsite sewage system.
After an application is submitted, a HDNW sanitarian evaluates the proposed site to determine if the conditions meet Sanitary Code requirements. Apply for this evaluation if you need to determine the suitability of vacant property for sewage disposal. This application is normally used for property buy/sell situations. Application for permits to install water well and septic system may be submitted by the new property owner following the closing of the sale of the property.
Real Estate Evaluation / Time-of-Transfer
A Time-of-Transfer Evaluation is a septic system evaluation that takes place before a property is transferred from a seller to a buyer. The seller may be required by a township or municipality to have this evaluation completed prior to sale, to ensure disclosure of all conditions that may affect or limit future property use and development.
Time-of-Transfer Evaluations are conducted by sanitarians from the Health Department. If you are considering selling or purchasing real estate, check with your township or municipality to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding water and septic system evaluations.
Application and Permit Fees
Need to Email Your Application?
Underground Utility Marking
To comply with Public Act 53 of 1974 by the Michigan State Legislature for the Protection of Underground Facilities and to protect our employees' safety, HDNW will have underground utilities flagged by Miss Dig for all Septic, Well, Existing System and Site Evaluations applications. Please plan an additional 4 business days into your schedule for this process.
- District Sanitary Code
- Septic Installer List for Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet & Otsego counties
- Antrim County Property Buying Guide
- Charlevoix County Property Buying Guide
- Emmet County Property Buying Guide
- Otsego County Property Buying Guide
- EPA’s Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems (short version)
- EPA’s Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems (long version)
- Be SepticSmart: Dos and Don'ts of Septic Systems
- Michigan Criteria for Subsurface Sewage Disposal
- Michigan Onsite Wastewater Management