Septic Tanks - Licensing for OSWW System Professionals (2024)

If you install, clean, or repair septic systems or if you haul and dispose of sewage from septic systems and portable toilets, you must be licensed by DHEC and renew your license each year.

Application Form

Download and complete the application form for a License to Construct or Clean Onsite Wastewater Systems and Self-Contained Toilets, then contact your local DHEC Environmental Affairs office to make arrangements for testing.

Tiered Licensing System for Onsite Wastewater System Installers

  • Tier 1 Installer:
    • Can install all gravity-fed and fill-cap residential systems.
    • Must obtain 8 hours of continuing education units every 2 years.*
    • May self-inspect systems they have installed when directed by the Department.
  • Tier 2 Installer:
    • Can install all Tier 1 systems in addition to systems that require pumps, grease traps, curtain drains, elevated infiltration systems, mounded systems, and all commercial systems.
    • Must obtain 12 hours of continuing education units every 2 years.*
    • May self-inspect systems they have installed when directed by the Department.
  • Tier 3 Installer:
    • Can install all Tier 1 and 2 systems in addition to Standard 610, Specialized Onsite Wastewater Systems.
    • Must obtain 18 hours of continuing education units every 2 years.*
    • May self-inspect systems they have installed.
    • Must be bonded and insured.
    • Must be actively installing in South Carolina for 3 years with no pending or prior disciplinary or enforcement action involving onsite wastewater systems OR actively installing out of state for 5 years with no pending or prior disciplinary or enforcement action involving onsite wastewater systems.

Delayed Implementation of Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

There will be a delayed implementation of 3 years following May 27, 2022, for the continuing education unit requirement. Once implemented, CEUs will need to be completed every 2 years and must be submitted with license renewals. A list of approved courses will be provided by the Department closer to the implementation date.

Transition to Tiered Licensure

Effective July 1, 2022, all installers currently licensed as master contractors with the Department will become Tier 3 installers. Installers who are licensed but are not master contractors will become Tier 2 installers.

All installers who will become Tier 2 installers and plan to install Standard 610, Specialized Onsite Wastewater Systems, will have 30 days, starting on July 1, 2022, to obtain their Tier 3 licensure. During this period, they may continue to install engineered systems while working to obtain the requirements necessary to be granted a Tier 3 license. After July 31, 2022, any installer who has not obtained a Tier 3 license will no longer be allowed to install Standard 610, Specialized Onsite Wastewater Systems.

License Fees

The licensure and annual renewal fees for onsite wastewater system installers and pumpers/haulers are listed below:

  • Installer:
    • Tier 1 - $100
    • Tier 2 - $100
    • Tier 3 - $200
  • Pumper/Hauler:
    • $100
  • Dual License to Construct and Clean:
    • Tier 1 Installer/Pumper/Hauler: $150
    • Tier 2 Installer/Pumper/Hauler: $150
    • Tier 3 Installer/Pumper/Hauler: $250

You must pay these fees each year in order to renew your license. If we don’t receive your payment by the due date, a late fee will be charged.

Your license to work on septic systems or haul sewage will expire if you fail to pay your renewal fees and late fees within 90 days of the renewal due date.

Exams

The first time you apply for a license to work with septic systems and/or sewage disposal, you must pass an exam that tests your understanding of Regulation 61-56. To pass, you must score 80% or better.

If you do not pass this test, you can retake it in 30 days. If you fail to pass a second time, you can wait 60 days and retake the exam a third time.

Once you are granted a license, you will not have to retake the test as long as you pay the annual license renewal fees and submit all necessary documentation. If you allow your license to expire, you will have to repeat the new license process from the beginning.

Other License Requirements

  • Vehicle Inspection: DHEC has the right to inspect all vehicles used to pump and haul sewage. You must keep your vehicle inventory list up to date and on file with DHEC.
  • Disposal Facilities List Required: You must submit a list of the sewage disposal facilities you intend to use along with written permission from those facilities.
  • Record of Activities Required: For each vehicle, you must maintain a log (record) of each pumping and disposal load. You must make this record of activities available to DHEC upon request.

The licensing requirements and fees are authorized under Regulation 61-56, Onsite Wastewater Systems.

General Information

Regulation, Forms, Fact Sheets

How to Locate a Septic Tank

Before You Buy Land

Preventative Routine Maintenance

Backups, Leaks, Odors

Septic Tank Safety Warnings

Frequently Asked Questions

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Septic Tanks - Licensing for OSWW System Professionals (2024)
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