Other States:
ALABAMA
Population: 4,447,100

Information on the state of Alabama is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.

Contacts| Regulations, Statutes & State Codes | Quick Facts | Septic Stats

Onsite Demonstration Programs | Onsite Management Communities

 

 

 

Contacts:
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Randall Farris, Director or Jimmy Coles, P.E.
Alabama Department of Public Health
Division of Community Environmental Protection
The RSA Tower, Suite 1250
201 Monroe Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
(334) 206-5373
(334) 206-5788 (fax)

jcoles@adph.state.al.us

rfarris@adph.state.al.us

http://www.alapubhealth.org

Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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Alabama State Regulations

Alabama Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Onsite Sewage Disposal and Subdivision-Onsite Sewage Systems,
Water Supplies and Solid Waste Management
Chapter 420-3-1
Amended November 18, 1998
Effective December 23, 1998

Onsite regulations for Alabama were last amended November 18, 1998 (effective December 23, 1998). As of November 1, 2001, regulations for soils evaluation and performance permitting are under revision, with a projected effective date during 2002. There are no plans to revise existing Codes/regulations between November 1, 2001, and July 31, 2002.

The following treatment technologies have been approved for use in Alabama: aerobic treatment unit (ATU), peat, other media types, sand filter, and wetlands. If a system owner is willing to operate under a performance permit, the technology does not have to be approved (usually large systems that could be used for surface discharges as well).

Surface discharge for onsite septic disposal systems is not currently permitted in Alabama; however, for onsite systems over 10,000 gpd and surface discharges, an NPDES permit is required, such permit being issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

State Code allows for drainfield area/size reductions, based on the "Shadowing Theory." Those technologies considered for drainfield area/size reductions include chamber systems, EZ Flow, and clean water technologies.

There is no funding program or other mechanism available to assist Alabama homeowners replacing failing systems or installing new systems, and there are no plans to develop such a mechanism within the next year. Currently, there are no ongoing onsite wastewater demonstration, research, or testing projects in Alabama.

Management programs/contracts or districts to monitor and maintain onsite systems or individual liquid waste systems are recognized/required by Alabama Code; a bill has recently passed that allows for financial standards to be established for anyone going into the onsite wastewater business. There are no plans to develop a formal maintenance/management program within the next year except as provided in the new regulation, which requires advanced treatment businesses to track the maintenance of the systems that they install. Local agencies do not have the authority to adopt or require maintenance/management programs.

Alabama tracks the number of permits issued each year for new construction and repair of a system; system replacement is traced as a repair. In Alabama, a system is considered to be failing if there is surfacing or if water backs up. The most common reasons for system failure are unknown.

The State conducts a licensing/certification program for onsite wastewater professionals, such as installers, designers, inspectors, and site evaluators. In Alabama, engineers, soil scientists, geologists, and land surveyors are licensed or certified to perform site evaluations/inspections.

For information on municipal wastewater regulations, one may contact Truman Green, Chief; Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Municipal Branch, at (334) 270-7700.


Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: 750,000 approximately; roughly 47% of the state.
Number of new systems installed each year: Over 25,000 new systems are installed annually.
Failure definition: NA
Number or proportion of systems presently failing: 20%; failure numbers are especially high
in Dale, Jefferson, Mobile and Tuscaloosa counties, where 200-1000 systems are replaced
annually.
Number or proportion repaired annually: 3200-3700 repaired or replaced.
Number or proportion replaced annually: See above.
Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing):
About 10%.
Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal):
About 5%.
Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $1500, range $750-$18,000.
Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): $800-$1000;
in some jurisdictions, none of this would accrue to the homeowner.

Septic Stats:
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  TOTAL PERSONS TOTAL HOUSING UNITS PUBLIC SYSTEM DRILLED WELL DUG WELL OTHER PUBLIC SEWER SEPTIC TANK OTHER MEANS
ALABAMA 4,040,587 1,670,379 1,454,160 170,898 30,207 15,114 910,782 728,690 30,907
COUNTIES                  
AUTAUGA 34,222 12,732 10,633 1,221 671 207 7,007 5,381 344
BALDWIN 98,280 50,933 38,819 10,923 1,038 153 23,189 27,108 636
BARBOUR 25,417 10,705 9,882 584 145 94 4,778 5,546 381
BIBB 16,576 6,404 5,813 300 146 145 1,301 4,666 437
BLOUNT 39,248 15,790 10,837 4,386 219 348 2,374 13,070 346
BULLOCK 11,042 4,458 4,156 211 33 58 1,851 2,388 219
BUTLER 21,892 8,745 7,418 931 327 69 3,825 4,432 488
CALHOUN 116,034 46,753 44,399 1,940 291 123 21,481 25,086 186
CHAMBERS 36,876 14,910 11,415 2,418 987 90 7,033 7,416 461
CHEROKEE 19,543 9,379 5,811 2,838 408 322 1,921 7,233 225
CHILTON 32,458 13,883 10,150 2,170 1,274 289 2,887 10,710 286
CHOCTAW 16,018 6,789 3,074 3,314 243 158 975 4,826 988
CLARKE 27,240 10,853 7,944 2,171 469 269 4,230 4,601 2,022
CLAY 13,252 5,608 2,395 2,207 654 352 1,319 3,920 369
CLEBURNE 12,730 5,232 1,908 2,195 1,007 122 779 4,205 248
COFFEE 40,240 16,951 13,602 3,129 202 18 9,886 6,874 191
COLBERT 51,666 21,812 20,114 1,315 157 226 12,846 8,787 179
CONECUH 14,054 6,207 3,681 2,184 281 61 1,554 4,330 323
COOSA 11,063 5,113 2,931 1,442 474 266 534 4,375 204
COVINGTON 36,478 16,178 10,250 5,450 412 66 7,811 8,105 262
CRENSHAW 13,635 5,938 4,499 1,238 183 18 1,665 3,986 287
CULLMAN 67,613 28,369 27,300 763 241 65 6,969 20,986 414
DALE 49,633 19,432 15,978 3,177 249 28 9,813 9,507 112
DALLAS 48,130 19,045 15,266 3,015 589 175 12,409 5,955 681
DE KALB 54,651 22,939 15,333 6,933 469 204 5,111 17,344 484
ELMORE 49,210 19,497 17,465 1,225 635 172 4,753 14,445 299
ESCAMBIA 35,518 14,356 11,565 2,523 246 22 6,701 7,434 221
ETOWAH 99,840 41,787 40,132 1,367 148 140 23,680 17,848 259
FAYETTE 17,962 7,555 4,436 1,764 561 794 2,496 4,471 588
FRANKLIN 27,814 11,772 9,041 1,118 521 1,092 4,610 6,886 276
GENEVA 23,647 10,416 5,687 4,415 284 30 4,170 6,157 89
GREENE 10,153 4,162 2,978 766 351 67 1,369 2,379 414
HALE 15,498 6,370 4,997 880 424 69 2,004 3,842 524
HENRY 15,374 7,056 5,343 1,550 122 41 2,422 4,498 136
HOUSTON 81,331 33,196 25,970 6,777 424 25 22,538 10,486 172
JACKSON 47,796 19,768 14,104 4,830 423 411 6,363 12,933 472
JEFFERSON 651,525 273,097 270,567 1,984 171 375 193,752 78,403 942
LAMAR 15,715 6,617 4,357 1,052 551 657 1,658 4,463 496
LAUDERDALE 79,661 33,522 27,643 4,391 869 619 16,096 17,107 319
LAWRENCE 31,513 12,212 10,068 1,764 253 127 2,251 9,768 193
LEE 87,146 36,636 33,184 2,320 946 186 22,975 13,341 320
LIMESTONE 54,135 21,455 17,181 3,280 776 218 7,346 13,830 279
LOWNDES 12,658 4,792 4,466 238 76 12 1,154 3,223 415
MACON 24,928 9,818 8,645 672 404 97 5,132 4,329 357
MADISON 238,912 97,855 94,052 3,143 499 161 76,134 21,315 406
MARENGO 23,084 9,144 5,653 2,679 611 201 3,872 4,102 1,170
MARION 29,830 12,597 8,506 1,910 874 1,307 3,175 8,959 463
MARSHALL 70,832 30,225 27,905 1,911 157 252 13,261 16,661 303
MOBILE 378,643 151,220 136,378 13,650 1,039 153 106,503 43,870 847
MONROE 23,968 9,633 7,194 1,987 361 91 3,112 5,970 551
MONTGOMERY 209,085 84,525 82,675 1,586 188 76 77,001 6,975 549
MORGAN 100,043 40,419 38,875 1,245 201 98 23,592 16,503 324
PERRY 12,759 4,807 3,102 890 675 140 2,362 1,835 610
PICKENS 20,699 8,379 6,604 1,042 429 304 2,931 4,729 719
PIKE 27,595 11,506 10,010 1,211 209 76 6,450 4,744 312
RANDOLPH 19,881 8,728 4,091 2,752 1,301 584 2,810 4,783 1,135
RUSSELL 46,860 19,633 17,987 996 565 85 11,529 7,598 506
ST. CLAIR 50,009 20,382 17,258 2,588 260 276 3,373 16,799 210
SHELBY 99,358 39,201 36,848 2,034 205 114 17,284 21,723 194
SUMTER 16,174 6,545 6,061 275 98 111 2,749 3,364 432
TALLADEGA 74,107 29,861 21,826 7,252 494 289 13,407 15,947 507
TALLAPOOSA 38,826 17,312 14,668 1,655 597 392 7,521 9,165 626
TUSCALOOSA 150,522 58,740 54,829 2,589 728 594 38,372 19,889 479
WALKER 67,670 28,427 25,094 2,996 237 100 6,654 21,432 341
WASHINGTON 16,694 6,625 3,570 2,383 560 112 528 4,934 1,163
WILCOX 13,568 5,119 3,249 1,355 394 121 1,458 2,747 914
WINSTON 22,053 10,254 6,288 3,398 171 397 1,686 7,966 602

 

Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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Mobile and Tuscaloosa counties both operate
demonstration sites, as do the following
watershed programs:

Sand Mountain/Lake Guntersville,
Flint Creek,
Weeks Bay,
Pea River and
Choctawhatchee River.

The Mobile project was recently funded by
Congress as a National Community Decentralized
Wastewater Demonstration Project.

Onsite Management Communities:
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City of Mobile
Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Co-op