Septic System Pumpout Program
About the Program
In accordance with the Virginia Administrative Code, 9VAC25-830-130, Stafford County has initiated a STATE MANDATED program requiring that septic systems be pumped out every five (5) years. According to 9VAC25-830-130 and Sec. 27B-8(a)(7) of the County Ordinance, all on-site sewage disposal systems not requiring a Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit shall be pumped out at least once every five (5) years, in accordance with the state health code. Property owners with septic systems will be notified on a rotating basis once every five years (5) to have their septic system pumped out. Please note that every property with a septic system is required to comply with this program.
In implementing the program, the County has been divided into five (5) sub-areas based on the number of existing septic systems and projected growth.
Affected property owners will be notified by mail of compliance date to have their septic system pumped out by a licensed septic pump and haul service along with a compliance form. Once service has been performed, the property owner (e)mails the form along with a copy of the receipt as proof of compliance.
Who to Contact
To contact a licensed septic pump and haul service, search online or consult the yellow pages under Septic.
Septic System Verification
The County would like to verify that a septic system exists on your property. Please answer question 1 on the enclosed form and return to the address at the bottom of the form.
To verify that your septic system has been pumped out, please fill out the enclosed form sent with your notice and return with a copy of the receipt from the pump and haul contractor.
Failure to comply with this program may result in the assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each day of violation or a one time penalty not to exceed $10,000.
You will be considered in compliance if:
- Your septic system has been pumped out or inspected (please attach a copy of the receipt or two sides of the cancelled check verifying prior work),
- Your home was newly constructed (please make a note of when your home was constructed on the
- Verification and Compliance Form), or
- You recently purchased your house and the septic system was pumped as part of the settlement (please attach a copy of the settlement sheet where it identifies the septic pump-out work).
For more information, please contact the Department of Public Works, at (540) 658-8689.
Did You Know?
- Improperly functioning septic systems are the leading cause of groundwater pollution in Virginia.
- Malfunctioning drainfields can result in the pollution of County drinking water.
- Not all material that enters a septic system is decomposed entirely. The resulting build-up, if not removed, is the #1 reason for system failures.
- Nitrate and phosphorous from human waste contribute to algae growth in lakes and streams, which reduces oxygen levels in the water, suffocating aquatic life and marine habitats.
- Pumping-out of septic systems is a cost-effective practice:
- Estimated cost of a typical pump-out = $150-$300
- Estimated cost to replace or repair a damaged system = $5,000-$20,000
- Rehabilitation of a drainfield which has failed due to solids infiltration is either impossible or ineffective, and is extremely expensive even where it can be done.
Ways to Protect and Prolong the Life of Your Septic System
- Conserve. Use water within the household sparingly to increase the opportunity for wastewater to settle in the holding tank, allowing more time for bacteria to breakdown the solids.
- Check faucets and toilets for leakage when not in use and repair immediately to avoid unnecessary flow into the system.
- Strictly monitor what goes into the system through drains, toilets, and surface penetration. Things to avoid:
- Hazardous chemicals such as insecticides, automotive chemicals and oils, photographic solutions, caustic drain openers, varnishes, and paints.
- Solid wastes such as coffee grounds, grease and fats, kitty litter, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, cigarette filters, used condoms, or synthetic rubber products.
- Inspect drainfields and septic pumps periodically for unpleasant odors, soggy soils, liquid waste flow, and cracks in tank walls. These are symptoms of a malfunctioning system and if detected early can be controlled before they become serious.
- Check for depressions in the drainfield to prevent pooling of surface water and direct all yard and downspout drainage away from or around the drainfield.
- Do not park vehicles or heavy equipment on or near the drainfield as this will compact soils and damage the network of drainpipes.
- Avoid planting water-loving vegetation or trees and shrubs with deep roots that also may clog and damage drainpipes. Shallow-rooted plants such as turfgrass, flowering perennials, and annuals are recommended and help prevent erosion of drainfield soils.
- Keep records of septic tank and drainfield maintenance such as drainfield location, inspection, and pump-out dates, as well as any problems or other service activities.