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Septic Systems, Wells & Water Protection

Septic Systems, Wells & Water Protection

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Routine Well Water Testing

Owners of private wells are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants. Private wells should be checked on a regular basis for mechanical problems, cleanliness, and the presence of coliform bacteria, nitrates, and any other contaminants of local concern.

Recommended Testing Schedule

Schedule tests
Every Year Test for local and fecal coliform bacteria.
Every Two to Three Years Test for heavy metals, nitrates, nitrites, lead, and copper.
Every Five Years Test for pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you know a particular pesticide is applied in your area, test yearly.


Effective March 17, 2020

Effective March 17, 2020, there will be two changes affecting the soil/site evaluation process:

  1. Property owner or applicant must provide a backhoe (minimum 2’ wide bucket) with trained operator for site evaluations performed on individual lots and subdivisions (new septic systems). In lieu of a backhoe, the property owner or applicant may submit soil and site evaluation documentation as required by NC Session Law 2018-114, for each lot prepared by a North Carolina Licensed Soil Scientist.
  2. The maximum acreage evaluated per Improvement Permit (site evaluation) application is limited to 3.0 acres.

Septic System Application

Septic Systems

The Union County On-site wastewater / septic program performs site evaluations, issues permits and inspects existing systems to protect the public health of Union County. By performing these duties, we help ensure the proper completion of construction, design and monitoring of septic systems.

Septic System Application and Permitting Process

The following is an outline of our process to obtain a septic system permit. Please refer to our video tutorials for more detail.

1. Apply for a site evaluation using the Septic System Approval Application.  

Note: Once an application has been processed, the assigned Environmental Health Specialist will contact the applicant with a projected time frame or to schedule the site evaluation. Wait times can be affected by wet weather and the amount of applications received.  

2. The soil/site evaluation will be conducted by an Environmental Health Specialist (EHS). If an area is approved for a septic system, our staff will identify the approved area with flags labelled as “Septic System Area.”   

3. Depending on the type of permit that was applied for in the application and the results of our site evaluation, additional information may be requested by the EHS prior to issuing permits. Keep in mind that if we are only issuing an Improvement Permit, an application for a Construction Authorization (CA) will be required prior to issuing the CA. The CA permit is required to install septic system components as well as to obtain a building permit.  

4. Permits can be issued to the applicants by email or may be picked up at the Environmental Health office.

Site Evaluation Process

The soil is evaluated to determine the suitability for an on-site wastewater / septic system. A soil evaluation is required for any new construction and for any existing properties that may be adding to the existing building / house.

Existing System Inspections

These inspections are made by request only. These inspections are required prior to any new construction on a property with an existing septic system. This includes garages, swimming pools, irrigation systems, attachments to existing buildings, etc. Click here to download an application.

Repairing Existing Septic Systems

A request is made by the homeowner, or representative thereof, for a repair to be made to a malfunctioning system. A site visit is made by the Environmental Health Specialist to assess the situation and to make recommendations, prior to issuing a repair permit. Click here to download an application.

Maintenance Program

The maintenance program is a State mandated program that specifies inspection frequencies for specific types of on-site wastewater / septic systems. Low Pressure Pipe (LPP), Pre-treatment, and pump systems are examples of systems which must be inspected.

For LPP systems and pre-treatment systems, there is a homeowner’s guide, a certified operator list, and a sample inspection sheet available under the “Rules & Guides” section.

Soil & Site Evaluation


In an effort to protect public health and to responsibly develop the groundwater resources of Union County, the Union County Health Department, Environmental Health Division has implemented a program for the permitting, inspection and water quality analysis for all new private drinking water wells and irrigation wells.

Well Permitting Process

A well permit is required for: Private drinking wells, Irrigation wells, Water producing geothermal wells and Well repairs*.

To obtain a well permit:

  • An Application and site plan including: property line dimensions, structures, pools, septic systems and other potential sources of contamination listed on the application form, must be submitted to the Environmental Health office.
  • A $480 permit fee is due when the application is submitted.
  • A field visit to the property shall occur.
  • The permit shall be prepared using the site plan. It will have a scaled drawing of the property indicating the location of all potential sources of contamination and setbacks. The well may be located anywhere outside of the setback area(s).

*Any well application for a parcel which is served by public sewer or water shall be reviewed by Union County Public Works. All wells applied for in the City of Monroe shall have approval from the Monroe Water Resources Department. This generally increases the permit preparation time by seven days or longer.

Click here for additional well permit applications and regulation information.

Testing Your Well’s Water Quality

How to apply for water quality testing sample: Complete a Request Form and mail appropriate fee(s) to the Environmental Health Office. Sampling is generally scheduled within five working days.

Water samples can be tested for the following: bacteria, petroleum pesticides, herbicides, nitrates/nitrates and inorganics. The inorganic test includes evaluation for: pH, alkalinity, fluoride, chloride, calcium, magnesium, total hardness, manganese, lead, arsenic, copper, iron and zinc.

Water quality testing fees vary based on the test being administered. Click here to view the full fee schedule.


Bacteria test results will be mailed to you. If you would like to view or print a copy of your water sample test results (non-bacterial), please visit the North Carolina Laboratory of Public Health website for; Inorganic/Nitrates Results , Petroleum/Pesticides Results. Scroll down the page and click on inorganic or organic sample test results, enter Union County Environmental Health under counties, and follow directions.

For information regarding contaminants and minerals in your drinking water, please visit the EPA’s website.

Water Quality

How does Union County protect our water quality?

The On-Site Water Protection Section of the Division of Environmental Health is committed to protecting the environment and promoting public health. This is accomplished by having a dedicated staff of environmental health specialists who carry out the following responsibilities:

  • Performing soil and site evaluations;
  • Issuing / denying on-site wastewater system permits;
  • Inspecting new and existing septic tank systems;
  • Responding to complaints;
  • Issuing / denying well permits; and
  • Water sampling of wells, including: bacteria inorganic nitrates/nitrites pesticides petroleum.

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Main Office/scheduling
Phone: 704-283-3553

David Finley
Environmental Health Supervisor
On-Site Water Protection Program

Gina Long
Program Specialist
On-Site Wastewater Program

Ed Eason
Program Specialist
Well Program and Solid Waste Enforcement

Ramona Dunphy
Program Specialist
Maintenance and Operation Program

On-Site Water Protection Program Contacts

Environmental Health Concerns in the Community

If you have a concern about an Environmental Health issue, please use the following link to request a follow-up.

Complaint Form

About Water Quality Protection

The On-site Water Protection Program serves the community through the protection of surface and ground water supplies. Program staff educate citizens on water quality, contaminant issues and waterborne diseases. Environmental Health Specialists conduct soil and site evaluations to determine suitability for septic systems on both residential and commercial properties. This program is responsible for the design, permitting and inspection of new systems and the repair of existing sewage disposal systems. Other duties include responding to citizen complaints and performing existing system inspections. Existing system inspections are performed for homeowners who are constructing additions to their home including: bedrooms, decks, porches, detached buildings, swimming pools or rooms outside the existing foundation.