Septic Tank Information

Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS)/Septic Systems

On June 19, 2012, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted Resolution No. 2012-0032, the Water Quality Control Policy for Siting, Design, Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS Policy) that established statewide standards for septic systems. On April 25, 2014, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted Resolution No. R8-2014-0005 amending the Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan), in part, to incorporate State Board's 2012 OWTS Policy.

The OWTS Policy establishes a statewide, risk-based, tiered approach to the regulation and management of OWTS. It recognizes variability in local conditions by allowing local agencies to propose for approval by regional water boards, a Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) under Tier 2 that would achieve the same policy purpose to protect water quality and public health.

The goal of the OWTS Policy is to correct and prevent system failures due to poor siting and design, and excessive OWTS densities. The OWTS Policy recognizes that local agencies, typically county health departments, have greatest regulatory expertise; therefore, they remain as leads. However, local agencies historically focused on public health. The OWTS Policy adds focus on water quality protection with a risk-based approach for new, replacement, and failing OWTS.

Where a county crosses multiple regional board jurisdictions, Attachment 3 of the OWTS Policy designated a lead Regional Water Board for reviewing and approving the LAMP.  The Santa Ana Water Board is the lead agency for the review and approval of the LAMP for Orange County.  Orange County has submitted its LAMP that covers the unincorporated areas within the county. 

Santa Ana Water Board staff provided comments to the designated regional water board leads for Riverside and San Bernardino County LAMPs applicable to areas within the Santa Ana Water Board jurisdiction. Resolution R7-2016-0038 approving the LAMP for unincorporated Riverside County was adopted by the Colorado River  Water Board at its November 17, 2016 board meeting.

Resolution No. R6V-2014-0032 approving the  LAMP for unincorporated San Bernardino County was adopted by the Lahontan Water Board on July 13, 2017. The Santa Ana Water Board has received several LAMPs from cities within San Bernardino County. LAMPs submitted by cities are reviewed and approved by the Regional Water Board with jurisdiction.

LAMPs currently under review
Orange County LAMP

Approved LAMPs for Cities within San Bernardino County

Resolution R8-2017-0012 approving the LAMP for City of Rancho Cucamonga was adopted by the Santa Ana Water Board at its June 16, 2017 board meeting.

Resolution R8-2017-0043 approving the LAMP for City of Yucaipa was adopted by the Santa Ana Water Board at its November 3, 2017  board meeting.

Resolution R8-2019-0058 approving the LAMP for City of Redlands was adopted by the Santa Ana Water Board at its October 25, 2019 board meeting.

Copies of approved City of Rancho Cucamonga, City of Yucaipa and City of Redlands LAMP’s are available upon request.

Septic Tank Prohibitiom Information

In 1973, the Santa Ana Water Board adopted prohibitions on the use of subsurface disposal systems in the following areas:

Grand Terrace (CSA 70, Improvement Zone H);

Yucaipa-Calimesa (Yucaipa Valley County Water District);

Lytle Creek above 2600-foot elevation;

Mill Creek above 2600-foot elevation; and

Bear Valley (includes Baldwin Lake Drainage Area);

In 1982, the Santa Ana Water Board adopted prohibitions on the use of subsurface disposal systems for the Homeland-Green Acres area and Romoland areas.

On October 3, 2006, the Santa Ana Water Board adopted prohibitions for the use of subsurface disposal systems in Quail Valley. On January 16, 2020, the Santa Ana Water Board revised the Quail Valley Prohibition for the use of subsurface disposals systems in Quail Valley.
Additional information regarding these septic system prohibitions are available in Chapter 5 of the Santa Ana Water Board’s Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan)

Septic System Technical Document

A Review of the Nitrate Problems in the Ground Waters of the Santa Ana Region and their relationship to High Density Developments on the Septic Tank-Subsurface Disposal Systems - September 1989 document

For more information or to request a copy of documents listed on this webpage, please contact: 

Susan Beeson at (951) 782-4902

Julio Lara at or (951) 782-4901






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