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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 2336 (April 27, 2024).

25 Pa. Code § 73.11. General.


§ 73.11. General.

 (a)  No person may install, and no sewage enforcement officer may issue a permit for or approve, a sewage system which violates this chapter.

 (b)  A structure may not be occupied before the sewage system is finally inspected, approved and covered. Except when the sewage enforcement officer requires a change to the installation schedule because of weather and soil conditions, the permit may be modified with conditions to be established by the local agency to allow use of a septic tank as a temporary holding tank. In these instances, § §  71.61 and 71.63(b)(1) and (2), (c)(1) and (2), 73.61 and 73.62(b) do not apply. Absorption areas shall be covered by the permittee within 5-calendar days after final inspection and approval to prevent damage.

 (c)  Liquid wastes, including kitchen and laundry wastes and water softener backwash, shall be discharged to a treatment tank. A sewage system may not discharge untreated or partially treated sewage to the surface of the ground or into the waters of this Commonwealth except as specifically permitted under sections 202 and 207 of the Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.202 and 691.207) and individual residential spray irrigation systems permitted by local agencies under section 7.3 of the act (35 P. S. §  750.7c).

 (d)  Where additional absorption area is installed to increase the total area of an existing system and flows are generated from a common treatment tank, loading per square foot of the new area and the existing area shall be equal.

 (e)  Discharge from roof gutters, foundation drainage, floor drains not from sewage generating connections and surface runoff may not be discharged to a treatment tank; nor may the discharges be permitted to flow over an absorption area or spray fields.

 (f)  The discharge of inadequately disinfected effluent or the discharge of effluent in a manner inconsistent with the system design specifications from an individual residential spray irrigation system shall constitute a nuisance.


   The provisions of this §  73.11 amended under section 9 of the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (35 P. S. §  750.9); The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.1—691.1001); and section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  510-20).


   The provisions of this §  73.11 adopted August 2, 1971, effective August 14, 1971, 1 Pa.B. 1649; amended April 26, 1974, effective May 13, 1974, 4 Pa.B. 817; amended August 30, 1974, effective September 16, 1974, 4 Pa.B. 1805; amended January 21, 1983, effective January 22, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 508; amended January 9, 1987, effective January 10, 1987, 17 Pa.B. 172; amended November 7, 1997, effective November 8, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 5877. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (221910) to (221911).

Notes of Decisions

   For the construction of a sewage disposal system, the provisions of 25 Pa. Code §  73.11(c) (relating to overall requirements) and 25 Pa. Code §  73.71(b)(5) (relating to standard trenches) require at least 6 feet between the soil surface and the seasonal high water table. Department of Environmental Resources v. Flynn, 344 A.2d 720 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1975).

   A property owner acquired a vested right in a municipal permit, even though it was issued on the basis of a mistake in the seasonal highwater table, where he had exercised due diligence and good faith in attempting to comply with the law and had expended substantial unrecoverable funds and where no appeal had been taken from the issuance of the permit and there was insufficient evidence to prove that public health and safety would be adversely affected by use of the permit. Department of Environmental Resources v. Flynn, 344 A.2d 720 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1975).

   Testimony as to excavations in nearby lots does not satisfy the applicant’s burden of proving what soil conditions exist beneath the proposed excavation and the mere possibility that pollution could result from the installation of the proposed sewage disposal system would be enough to justify the regulations. Department of Environmental Resources v. Metzger, 347 A.2d 743 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1975).

   The fact that the Department of Environmental Resources tests indicated that the soil suitability was marginal and that the Department of Environmental Resources granted a permit for a proposed experimental sewer system did not place any liability on the Department of Environmental Resources or on the Township when the system malfunctioned. Londonderry Township v. Geyer, 537 A.2d 377 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  71.63 (relating to retaining tanks).

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