1. Constructing a new home on land previously undeveloped (also includes non-residential new construction with the need of an onsite wastewater treatment system)

If your project is likely to use in excess of 1000 gallons of water per day (greater than a 9 bedroom home) or if your construction project is a NYS DOH regulated facility (restaurant, diner, etc) this information does not pertain to you. You will need to hire your own design professional and submit plans for approval to the WPA, NYS DEC and/or NYS DOH. Call the WPA for further directions.

All aspects of NYS DOH Appendix 75-A must be adhered to for new construction. A waiver from the minimum requirements may only be granted by NYS DOH and only if detailed plans completed by a privately retained design professional have been submitted and approved by both the WPA and NYS DOH Hornell District Office.

Typical Sequence for New Construction*
1. Contact the WPA to schedule a Site Evaluation and to provide the necessary application information.
2. Applicant calls Dig Safely NY, 1-800-962-7962 before you dig, drill or blast.
3. Conduct Site Evaluation with a backhoe/excavator on hand, the applicant or a knowledgeable representative and the WPA Watershed Inspector. Full payment due to WPA (Check payable to Schuyler County).
4. Conduct percolation test if necessary.
5. Based on information provided in application and the results of the site evaluation, a preliminary design will be drafted.
6. Professional Engineer Site Visit and Approval.
7. Issuance of “Wastewater Treatment System Construction Permit.” Valid for one year.
8. Preliminary approval provided to Town Code Enforcement Officer to allow the issuance of a Building Permit.
9. See Inspection Instructions for Contractors procedures section for additional information during construction.
10. If a new water well is required, see Development of an Individual Water Supply procedures section.
11. Following final inspection a “Certificate of Approval” is issued to the applicant and forwarded to the Town Code Enforcement Officer. A Notice of Non-Compliance may be issued if one or more aspects of the permit where not followed, but is not typical.
*Typical Sequence listed is only for those lots where minimum lot size and all aspects of Appendix 75-A can be met.
**Due to the difficulty of any particular lot, the WPA may at any time choose to require applicant to hire and retain their own Design Professional. Likewise the applicant may at any to time hire and retain their own Design Professional.

Detailed Policy and Procedure Information
The first step in constructing a new home in Schuyler County with no municipal; sewer system is to call the WPA to fill out the application form and to schedule a Site Evaluation. There is a need to verify that the existing or proposed lot has met the minimum lot size requirements. The Schuyler County minimum lot size for single family home development can be found here, while each Town may have additional requirements. In some situations (such as subdividing a parcel into multiple smaller lots), the determination of meeting the minimum lot size will be made by the WPA following the initial Site Evaluation. If the minimum lot size cannot be met, a waiver from the WPA may be applied for by submitting plans from a design professional at the owner’s expense (plan review and permitting fees still apply). The WPA reserves the right to reject any plans submitted by a design professional.

Following or in conjunction with establishing the minimum lot size requirements, a site evaluation will be conducted. Full payment is due at the time of the site evaluation. A representative of the WPA will meet on site with the applicant (or a representative) and a backhoe/excavator and an operator. The backhoe will be used to dig a Deep Test Hole to determine the lots suitability for onsite wastewater treatment and disposal, and determine any restrictive layers such as water table or bedrock. The backhoe must dig the DTH in the presence of the WPA Inspector and must be capable of excavating to a depth of at least seven feet below grade.

If the DTH reveals the possibility of installing a conventional subsurface treatment wastewater system (i.e. no clay soils, high water table or shallow bedrock), the applicant will be asked to dig a certain number of percolation test holes to a required specific depth. The process for preparing perc test holes can be found here. The perc test is necessary to determine the required amount of square footage of absorption/treatment area, i.e. the size of the system, for a conventional system.

If the DTH reveals the lot to be unsuitable for a conventional subsurface treatment system (i.e. clay soils, high water table or shallow bedrock), an alternative wastewater treatment system must be utilized for the lot. The WPA has Local Waiver Designs for three different alternative wastewater treatment designs granted by the NYS DOH. They consist of a Raised Fill System, Aerobic Treatment Unit, and a Sand Filter Treatment System.

For lots requiring an alternative system, the WPA will work with the applicant to select the best suited, least expensive system, while still meeting environmental and health standards. The most utilized alternative onsite wastewater treatment system in Schuyler County is the Sand Filter Treatment System.

Following the Site Evaluation, a preliminary design will be drafted by the WPA. A design is based on the results of the DTH, perc test and the information provided in the construction application. The design is then sent to the contracted professional engineer for review. A Wastewater Treatment System Construction Permit will be issued once the WPA receives the approved plans from the contracted engineer. The process typically takes two weeks. The permit is valid for one year.

Additional Pertinent Procedure Sections:
Developing a Water Supply Inspection Instructions for Contractors