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Program Description

The primary responsibility of this program is reviewing and approving plans for Onsite Wastewater Treatments Systems within designated cities and unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles in an effort to protect groundwater sources. Program personnel also inspect and permit septic tank pumping vehicles, chemical toilet pumping vehicles, and toilet rental agencies. In addition, we are responsible for evaluating subdivision requests and conducting environmental reviews within its scope.


  • Review and approve plans for construction, renovation, expansion or repair of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems by conducting field inspections and reviewing soil evaluations, percolation test data, as well as historical records

  • Perform field inspections to assess parcel and tract maps, the feasibility of new land use proposals, conditional use permits, zone changes, etc., for the Department of Regional Planning

  • Conduct field inspections and record searches to provide assessments of existing Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems

  • Inspect sewage cleaning vehicles, chemical toilet pumping vehicles and toilet rental agencies

  • Inspect recreational cabins within U.S. Forestry Service areas, when requested



The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) held a public hearing on May 10th; there was no opposition raised by representatives of local town councils or other stakeholders. However, the Chairperson of the Board requested that the Department of Public Health (DPH) work with the Water Board to identify the locations of the cesspools and determine if they are causing contamination of surface or groundwater. DPH will provide the location of known cesspools to the Water Board as part of the annual report. The approved LAMP document dated May 17, 2018 is available below.

DPH will place the LAMP and its ordinance on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ agenda for consideration of adoption. DPH has 120 days from the Water Board approval date of May 21, 2018 for the adoption of LAMP. In the interim, the Water Board has allowed DPH to continue to approve OWTS under the existing County codes of ordinances, which will provide for continuity of service to the residents, and current contracted cities.


The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted the Water Quality Control Policy for Siting, Design, Operation and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, dated June 19, 2012, also referred to as the "OWTS Policy" (SWRCB, 2012). The State Water Board’s Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) Policy provides a multi-tiered strategy for management of OWTS in California.

On May 13, 2016, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) submitted a proposed Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) for oversight of septic systems within the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles to the local Water Board. This LAMP has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the OWTS Policy.

The purpose of the LAMP is to authorize DPH to implement alternate standards from the OWTS Policy Low Risk standards, including the conditions that allow DPH to issue operating permits for Non-Conventional Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (NOWTS). Without the adoption of the LAMP, residents whose property does not meet the requirements for the installation of a low risk system would be required to apply for a Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) permit from the local Water Board, pay annual fees to the Water Board of $1044, and comply with quarterly monitoring requirements. Upon obtaining a WDR, the resident would still be required to obtain a permit for the siting and design of the NOWTS from DPH.

Since 2016, DPH has prepared a revised draft of the LAMP that was submitted to the local Water Board on February 6, 2018. A copy of this revised LAMP dated March 21, 2018 and a subsequent revised copy dated May 2, 2018 have been posted on this website as they became available. A summary of the changes between the May 2016 and May 2, 2018 versions is available below. DPH in conjunction with the Water Board and the 3rd and 5th District offices conducted multiple community outreach meetings throughout the County. Copies of the PowerPoint presentations to the community are available below.

Applicability of the LAMP to Cities within Los Angeles County

Cities currently with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DPH for septic system review and those desirous of having DPH’s Land Use Program review proposed septic systems must enter into a MOU with DPH. In addition, cities will need to adopt the appropriate sections of the Los Angeles County Health and Safety Code (Title 11) and the Los Angeles County Plumbing Code (Title 28) to provide for the County’s enforcement of the LAMP’s provisions and restrictions, once these codes have been revised.

Cities that are interested in entering a MOU may contact the Land Use Program at (626) 430-5380 for more information and to be added to a mailing list.

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Director of Environmental Health
Terri S. Williams
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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