FAQs and Answers


You will not have a sewer line available. If you have a sewer bill, you do not come to us. We recommend you check with neighbors if you have empty land, and check the Disclosure Statement if you are purchasing a house. City limits, rural subdivisions with less than an acre per lot, and Water Associations that also provide sewer services are things you should check on prior to applying to us. If we visit your property for an application and we cannot provide services, a refund will not be provided.

We personally review all applications before invoicing. This prevents many mistakes, such as duplicate applications or applying for the wrong service to occur. The invoice is emailed to you from support@msegov.com within one (1) business day of receiving the application. Check your Spam folder if you do not see anything in your Inbox. We must receive your payment prior to visiting the property.

You may obtain a paper application at healthyms.com/wastewater or by calling 1-855-220-0192.

A plot plan is a drawing of your property that shows the shape, location of residence, driveway, water well, road access, bodies of water and any amenities, such as a pool, outbuildings, or utility easements. This should include all current and future details on the property. Provide as many measurements as possible. The more information we have, the more accurate our evaluation will be. It does not have to be fancy so long as we understand your plans.

A legal description is one or more paragraphs found on a property deed or survey that summarizes the length of property lines, shape, acreage, and easements. It is commonly located in the middle of the deed or as an exhibit at the end of the deed. A legal description of a subdivision parcel will be a deed and a copy of the subdivision plat. This must be submitted as a copy of the deed or survey and not typed or handwritten by you.

We recommend you apply with us before doing anything else. Every county has a different order of what homeowners need to do, but ours is usually one of the first Permits required. In fact, most counties will require 911E Addressing, then our Permit as the first two steps (all Gulf Coast counties do the opposite of this). If your county doesn’t have a set order of what permits to get, a septic system tends to take up the most property space and can cost a more significant amount of money if you apply to us after the residence is built.

If a sewer line isn’t near your property, you will need a septic system. However, not all soil is the same. We go out to the property to identify what kind of soil you have and soil saturation through the color of your soil. These two factors dictate your options. Then we review your plot plan of the property to know what you want to do on the property. This may require us to remove certain options from the list due to the lack of space. Our intentions are to ensure the safety of the environment and the public.

State law requires you have permanent sewage disposal solution available to receive a permanent water meter. Permanent sewage disposal solutions can be a sewer line or septic system. You must have a sewer option before a water utility can make a connection to your property. If public sewer is not available in your area, you will have to apply to us for the proper paperwork.

Call 601-576-7689 or email food@msdh.ms.gov. If you require a septic inspection or new septic system as part of your food application, this is the correct online application area. Please note that sewer connections (i.e. if you pay a sewer bill) do not require MSDH to inspect anything.

Aun puedes llamar al oficina del la Division de Onsite Wastewater a 1-855-220-0192. Cuando hablas con la nuestro personal dele que necesitas hablar con un traductor. Y ellos pueden darte el numero de la ambientalista.

Notice of Intent + Final Approval is currently $197.50
Notice of Intent + Exemption is currently $100
Existing Residential Inspection is currently $100
Private Water Well Sample is currently $10
Non-residential Water Meter is currently $0
Commercial Establishment + Final Approval is currently $412.50
Existing Commercial Establishment is currently $315
Commercial Development is currently $412.50 + $2.60/unit. A unit can be an apartment, house, trailer, RV or any other independent quarters for a single family.
Subdivision is currently $325 + $6.50/lot
Online payment will be subject to a processing fee. All fees are subject to change. Additional costs may be included if online application is not used. See other FAQ questions for details about application types.

MSDH maintains all licensing for Certified Installers in Mississippi. You may go to healthyms.com/wwLicensed to review our current license holders. If you already have someone in mind, you may still check their name against the database to confirm an active license. It is recommended that you contact at least three (3) installers for estimates to ensure consistent pricing.

Mississippi does not recognize gray water. Anything that could be considered gray water in other states is classified as wastewater in Mississippi. All wastewater is required to pipe into a central sewer system or a septic system for proper disposal. No “gray water” can be discharged on the ground, ditches, or bodies of water.

The Permit is required for a water meter and the installation of an on-site wastewater disposal system.

By law, sewer systems have first-right to provide sewer to everyone. As such, MSDH automatically refers applications within one (1) mile of a sewer line to connect. We must receive a Letter of Rejection from the sewer provider before we can proceed with the application. If we visited the property and discovered a sewer connect was available, a partial refund may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Residential applications are for one single-family dwelling, commonly in the form of a house, trailer, manufactured home or other structure designed for that reason. A commercial application encompasses manufactured home developments, mobile home parks, apartment complexes, RV parks, and businesses.

Apply for the Notice of Intent first. We have to ensure that a) a standard septic tank would work and b) if your county requires an Approval or not. Installing your own septic tank is not as easy as it sounds, and you must comply with our regulations for the installation. The last thing anyone wants is to spend more money than necessary, and purchasing this without checking with us may be an unnecessary expense.

A commercial application is for commercial property (businesses). A non-residential application is for agricultural use only. Please see our "What is a difference between a residential and non-residential application?" question for details.

State law requires you have a permanent sewage disposal solution available to receive a permanent water meter. Permanent sewage disposal solutions can be a sewer line or septic system. You must have a sewer option before a water utility can make a connection to your property.

The Division is not concerned with who applies so long as we know whom the primary contact will be. Some other authority or institution – like a loan provider or utility company – may require the owner’s name. We do advise that the contractor and owner know who will apply to us so there will not be duplicate applications filed.

We do not test for what is in your soil. Please contact a private lab like the MSU Extension Services for this form of testing.

Yes. This is considered a residential application with us. If there will be three (3) or more trailers/cabins/RVs on the property, this will need to be applied for as a commercial development.

This situation would be classified as a medical exemption. A doctor will need to provide a signed note stating your parent can no longer live alone and that you will be responsible for taking care of him/her. An Existing Residential Inspection will be required by us. MSDH may not allow this exemption if your septic system cannot handle the additional water usage.

Please contact your utility provider and confirm what is required. The Division of On-site Wastewater does not fax anything to any utility for you to receive services. We send all documentation directly to the applicant.

To have a water meter, you must have permanent sewage disposal. You will need a complete application and Permit from us to receive a water meter. Your local authority may allow for a temporary use of a port-a-potty until the septic system is installed, but the Division of On-site Wastewater does not have jurisdiction on that option.

MSDH will need a copy of your lease agreement and legal description. Your lease agreement should clearly state you can have utilities on the property.

You may file a complaint at healthyms.com/wwcomplaint at any time. We only investigate complaints of sewage crossing property lines, or creating a public health hazard. Within city limits, we only investigate between the main sewer line and the individual residence. The complaint is investigated quicker if you are able to provide as much detail as possible. We do not investigate the interior of any building, bed bugs, junk yards, trash complaints, or dump sites.

We will accept any wastewater complaint that may be involved in this, however we do not mediate any other issues. Call the Attorney General office to request a copy of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act to understand your rights. Check your renter’s agreement for any stipulations regarding the septic system as well. Due to our objective of resolving the wastewater complaint, the landlord may evict the tenant.


Please contact us as soon as you realize you do not require our services. We are only able to refund services we have not provided. If we have visited the property already, a partial or no refund will be available at that point. Refunds may be requested at wastewater@msdh.ms.gov or www.ms.gov/help_portal. The Help Portal will require 000 before your eight-digit Confirmation Number.

Payment by phone is only considerable if the online payment option has an issue. Due to limited staff, we must be able to provide assistance as efficiently as possible and ask that everyone try the online payment option first. We will not offer to accept payment by phone until every other option has failed.

  Real Estate

We accept applications from anyone so long as we know who is the primary contact. As a consist contact, a builder or realtor would be better-versed in submitting applications than the average resident. Builders should be cautious if applying for multiple lots in a single subdivision, as we monitor our applications for accidental duplicate submittals. Realtors should be aware that last-minute applications will not be expedited for any reason.

  Heir Land

Yes and no. The land is legally usable for your family to build on, however we must know the locations of all other dwellings, wells, etc. to provide a realistic evaluation. Any property with 3 or more dwellings will automatically be classified as a Commercial Development. The more dwellings on the property, the less likely we can ensure the next one will fit. Eventually, an engineer may be required and the costs will exceed what you or any of your family would be willing to pay.

No one knows what is going to happen 10, 20, 30 or more years down the road. There is always the possibility the property is lost for not paying taxes or someone’s descendants decide to sell one of the affected properties. Between the county and potential new owners of one of these properties, this could be a liability and turn into a fine and/or lawsuit. An easement or buying the portion of property your house is on would alleviate these concerns.

  Real Estate

The State does not require the septic be inspected as part of a real estate transaction. However, this could be considered a liability if the system malfunctions after the transaction is completed. MSDH recommends this inspection every time to protect realtors and buyers from a worst-case scenario. In subdivisions, check if there is any indication that a central sewer system is present (grinder pump, effluent pump tied to a system off the lot, MDEQ permit, etc). We do not have jurisdiction of these types of systems.

The State does not require the septic be inspected as part of a real estate transaction. However, MSDH recommends this inspection. Advanced Treatment Systems will also require a certified manufacturer’s representative (i.e. an Installer) to inspect the tank itself as part of this inspection. The county, city, realtor, utilities, loan provider, buyer or seller could request the inspection from us. MSDH does not expedite our services due to last-minute necessity.

  Well Sample

This application takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks from paying for the application to receive results.

On-site wastewater is available where central sewer is not. The same goes for owning a private well where public water is not available. Our staff visits residential properties to perform services for wastewater and there is a chance a private well will be there as well.

MSDH only tests for biological contamination, identified as coliform. When this tests positive, a second test is performed for E. Coli. MSDH does not test for any other contents within well water.

A private lab would be required for your testing. There are labs certified by MSDH to test your water at: https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,1112,188.html, but there are more private labs available in MS, such as Mississippi State University.

On-site Wastewater does not test public water sources. Public water is required to have quarterly testing and to have those results available to the public. Contact your water provider for the last test results. If you believe there is an issue with your public water, contact the Bureau of Public Water Supply.

No. Contact the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks on how to proceed.


In the State of Mississippi, it is against the law to pollute waters or allow your wastewater to leave your property without a MDEQ Permit. Anything MSDH regulates must stay on your property and not create a health hazard. There could be any number of reasons why the system was made to do that but it was not legal. Our concern will be to fix the system to comply with current laws and regulations.

This will be your discretion. A Certified Installer may be able to remedy the situation. The Certified Installer should determine if the problem is due to the wrong system being used or not, before money is spent repairing a lost cause. If so, you need to apply to us so we can ensure the right system is installed and used instead. Check with your county for any ordinances that may affect your application with us.

Septic tanks have a lifespan of 30 years on average. Treatment systems are closer to 25 years of life. Once the system is reaching the end of its life, the tank could collapse or field line clog up beyond repair or some other permanent damage will occur. Tanks should be pumped every 3 to 5 years, or more frequently depending on what is going into the tank. Plastics, toilet/baby wipes, cloth, grease, garbage disposal waste, feminine hygiene products, condoms, metal and other objects can shorten the lifespan of any system.

Years ago, it was standard to put in a septic tank with field line or sock pipe at every house. But over time, environmental experts realized not all soil can handle a septic tank for different reasons or what we believed was sized large enough was actually too small. Every state is different on how this was addressed, but Mississippi has refined our standards many times over the years to address these new developments. It is possible that this septic system was installed under standards that were correct at the time but have since been changed to prevent the issues you currently face.

It is possible that the system was not installed according to MSDH recommendations. Our current regulations and county requirements may not have existed when it was installed. If it is old enough, there would be no records to confirm this but applying for an Existing Inspection or Notice of Intent may be the best solution.


MSDH requires – at minimum – a description of the property in the form of your deed or survey and a plot plan that is drawn to show all current and future plans for the property. A tax map, house plans, architect plans (showing house location on property) and the like may also be included but are not required. DO NOT SEND copies of driver’s licenses, social security cards, local permits, checks, credit cards, death certificates or anything with confidential information through fax or email. The Division of On-site Wastewater operates entirely in public records and only requires documents that can be public record.

In either case, please include directions to the property from the nearest major road (State Hwy, US Hwy or Interstate) using any directional information possible. Getting to your road may not be the issue, so make sure to provide plenty of information we can follow (ex. “across from ####”, “West of the house with the blue roof”, “about 2 miles down on the left, across from a Speed Limit sign”) so we do not end up at your neighbor’s property instead. In the event your 911E Address is changed after you apply, send an email with the 911 address form and provide the original application address. Your information can be updated, including any paperwork.

A residential application is for a single-family dwelling. This means water is going to something people can live in and therefor needs a septic system for wastewater. A non-residential application is for a water meter for agricultural purposes. This can cover water for cattle, agriculture, or other use that would not generate wastewater. A non-residential application cannot be used for anything that includes a toilet, sink, shower, washing machine, or other plumbing fixture that could generate some form of wastewater.

A residential application will be required to evaluate the property for a proper wastewater disposal system. Failure to do so may result in penalties or fines.

We visit property only after receiving a completed application. Our average turnaround is 5-10 business days. We recommend that the manufactured or mobile home not be on the property before we visit. Depending on the situation, we may advise the home be relocated to fit a septic system based on the plot plan submitted. Certain counties may issue fines for no utilities. In addition, any alteration, excavation, disruption or changes to the property that affect the original recommendations can null and void our recommendations. Notify your contact with MSDH immediately to see if any of the options from the original recommendation are still available.

MSDH needs to know who to address if we contact the applicant. This could be the builder, realtor, renter, or other persons involved with the property. However, some other institution may require a particular name on our paperwork (bank, utility, etc.) so that name should be provided.

Local jurisdictions have their own ordinances for land that are separate from the Division. The type of soil, number of bedrooms, number of dwellings, water bodies, and other issues may restrict the amount of available room for us. Two properties in the same city/county could have the same acreage but different recommendations due to these factors.

We refer properties to an engineer on a case-by-case basis. We have to follow the law to the letter and sometimes that means we can’t fit a septic system within our regulations. Our intentions are to protect the environment and public from wastewater-borne diseases.

If we are unable to fit a septic system on a property based on the law, you will receive a referral to a professional engineer. You may search for a professional engineer at https://www.peps.apps.its.ms.gov/publicview/publicdefault.aspx. As a government entity, we are not allowed to recommend any engineers. A professional engineer willing to accept the job can submit a proposed design for our review.

An engineer is not the only option. Our default recommendation is to refer you to an engineer. If you are able to get a perpetual wastewater easement from a neighbor or purchase additional land nearby, we may be able to fit a septic system based on these changes. These options are not always available, but check to be sure. The easement must be filed with us and your county before we issue any recommendations. It is recommended that a lawyer draw up the easement.

We must have the application, payment, and necessary documents before we schedule a visit. Once we have everything, we average 5-10 business days to visit the property based on weather and the volume of applications in your area.

A wastewater easement is a utility easement allowing wastewater and/or septic system components to cross a property line so long as it remains within the easement area. This easement must be perpetuity (continuous) with the deeds affected. We recommend a lawyer draw up the easement to ensure it is worded properly. The easement must be filed with the court of jurisdiction (your county) prior to MSDH evaluating the area as part of your application..

There could be several reasons for this. If the neighbor’s residence is decades old, a septic tank may have been considered an option or treatment systems were not developed yet. The septic tank may not have been what MSDH recommended or the original owner did not apply to us. It is also entirely possible that they have better soil, have a lower water table, more property or some other factor that is different from your property. Should your neighbor’s septic tank malfunction, you may file a complaint with us to investigate the matter.

The Division evaluates the property for permanent residence and determines what types of systems will function within the law. The Division does not consider part-time or infrequent use and will not recommend your preference for that reason.

A boring from a company will not match our boring. Most borings will be for foundation purposes and will go beyond the five (5) feet we evaluate. There are also many ways to classify soils based on what the boring is for.


The exemption application is exclusively for new, single-family residences installing a septic system for the first time. Any property that is commercial or replacing an existing system are not eligible. It may be applied for the first residence on a parcel of land of two (2) or more acres or second residence on a parcel of land of five (5) or more acres. There are two differences between the exemption and the regular application. The first difference is the exemption is nearly half the cost of a regular application. The second difference means we do not go out to approve the installation, which is why the application costs less. This approval ensures that the Certified Installer installed everything legally and properly and will not be available if the system is already in the ground. The Department recommends this approval, as the assurance it provides costs less than possible repairs from an improper installation.

No. By law, you must apply to us and install a septic system from the Permit we issue. A Licensed Installer must install it and the proper paperwork must be submitted to the Division. Just because we do not inspect the installation does not mean anything can be installed.

There are a few things to address here. First, Installers should not refer anyone to switch to the exemption. The approval is an assurance to both the Installer and property owner that everything was done correctly. Second, Installers have historically informed property owners that the exemption is available in areas where it is not available or your property is ineligible for whatever reason. We can confirm if the exemption is available for you, but also explain why we recommend the Final Approval. MSDH assumes no responsibility for anything on the property after we leave and cannot approve any installed system after the fact.

No. By law, the exemption is only applicable to single tracts of property. In order to be eligible, the tracts in question must be formally combined.

No. By law, the exemption is only applicable to single tracts of property. In order to be eligible, the tracts in question must be formally combined.


Commercial Establishment

Rental property utilizes multiple housing units (mobile homes, apartments, complexes, RVs, houses) on the same property. Any property with three (3) or more of these units falls under this category. Rental property composed of one (1) or two (2) units does not fall under this category (except for duplexes), but MSDH recommends the commercial application.

Contact us at wastewater@msdh.ms.gov or call 855-220-0192 and describe what your plans are. If you do not have clear plans now, elaborate on what you would like to do.

No. The Division bases our evaluation on what you submit and does not provide services for capitalizing on property. The number of bedrooms, property layout, number of units, subdivision plat layout, acreage available, or any other factors will be our primary concern. Should the plans for the property not be suitable, we do notify the applicant that there is insufficient room based on the information provided. Depending on the severity of the situation, we may be able to advise a simple solution.

This would be classified as a cluster system and will be considered a commercial application with us. A cluster or shared system is an option for rental property under the condition that the land will not be separated and sold. The number of dwellings on a cluster system will be limited with MSDH. Large cluster systems may be available through MDEQ. No existing system may be converted to a cluster system after the fact.


A subdivision is any development of land into ten (10) or more lots. County ordinances may lower the minimum number of lots. If the development will utilize public water, the Bureau of Public Water Supply may require a subdivision review, regardless of lot count.

Some or all of the lots in your subdivision are not sized adequately for us to put a septic system on. In addition, any subdivision exceeding 35 lots or applying for a new phase will be required to have a feasibility study.

A subdivision is reviewed by MSDH on a general basis, with the intention that the lots are sized appropriately to support a residence and septic system. The septic system options available are determined on a lot-by-lot basis. It is possible that you and your neighbor will have different septic system options on the Permits, based on the merits of the lot and the plot plan.