On-Site Sewage Facilities - Frequently Asked Questions

Does ANRA allow for conventional septic systems to be installed, or is an aerobic system required?

The rules for On-Site Sewage Facilities (OSSFs) allow for a homeowner to install conventional septic systems under certain conditions. A conventional septic system is a suitable form of sewage treatment, but only if it is appropriate for the soil conditions at the site. In areas where there is a high clay content in the soil, there is not adequate water absorption for that type of system to work properly. This can lead to runoff from the system that can pollute groundwater (wells and aquifers) or surface water (creeks, rivers, and lakes).

Each system that is installed requires a site design be performed by either a Registered Sanitarian or a Professional Engineer, who must perform a Soil Textural Classification as part of that evaluation. The soil type is what determines if a conventional system can be used, or if an aerobic OSSF is required. If the soil type is able to support a conventional system, ANRA has no issues permitting one and readily allows the homeowner to do so. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the soil in this area has too high of a clay content for a conventional system to properly function. When the soil type will not support a conventional system, an aerobic system is required.

What are the rules related to On-Site Sewage Facilities?

The Angelina & Neches River Authority is the Authorized Agent for implementing and enforcing the State of Texas’ rules related to OSSFs, but we did not create those rules. Please be aware that the vast majority of the rules that govern OSSFs are rules of the State of Texas.  The applicable state rules are:

  • Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 366
  • Title 30, Texas Administrative Code Chapter 285
  • Title 30, Texas Administrative Code Chapter 30, Subchapters A and G

Those rules are available in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) document entitled:
On-Site Sewage Facility Rules Compilation (RG-472)

In addition to the state rules, there are a few additional rules included in ANRA’s Order Adopting Rules of the Angelina & Neches River Authority for On-Site Sewage Facilities. In that Order we do have some amendments that are stricter than the state’s rules. Those additional rules are found in Section 10 of the Order.

What are the proper steps to obtaining a permit to construct a wastewater system in ANRA's OSSF jurisdiction?

The first step is to complete an ANRA septic application and pay the proper permitting fee. An application can be obtained by mail, in person or downloaded from our Forms and Instructions Page. The second step is to have a wastewater system design completed by a Texas Registered Sanitarian. The design needs to be submitted to ANRA to be reviewed for the proper wastewater system permit. A permit to construct is usually issued within 48 hours after all paperwork has been submitted.

What number should I call if I have a question about my septic system or the ANRA permitting process?

Any questions regarding on-site wastewater septic system permitting, inspections, license transferring or nuisance complaints will be forwarded to the ANRA OSSF Coordinator at 936-633-7553.

Will my new wastewater system be inspected by an ANRA staff member?

Yes. All new wastewater systems will be inspected by the ANRA. The septic system installer must be present at the inspection.

Is a homeowner required to transfer ownership of a wastewater license when property is sold?

Yes. Texas State law requires a homeowner to transfer ownership of a wastewater system at the time of sale. The license can be voided by law if the transfer is not completed. A License transfer application can be obtained from the ANRA office or from our Forms and Instructions Page

Can a licensed wastewater system be modified?

No. Texas State Law prohibits modifications to any wastewater system. A new permit will be required.

Is there a minimum lot size to install a wastewater system in the ANRA's OSSF jurisdiction?

Yes, Texas State Law requires a ½-acre lot with a public water supply connection as a minimum. ANRA can issue a variance to this rule if all setbacks on the septic system design have been met.

Is there a minimum distance required from a water well to a wastewater system?

Yes. A fifty foot separation distance is required if the water well has a concrete lined casing; otherwise, a hundred foot setback distance is required.

Does ANRA investigate wastewater nuisance complaints?

Yes, Wastewater nuisance complaints will be investigated in a timely matter if a proper complaint form is completed with specific directions. The nuisance complaint form can also be downloaded from our Forms and Instructions Page

What is a Licensed Installer?

A person that has been licensed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to install on-site sewage facilities (OSSF). There are two license levels. Installer Class I (OSI) is authorized to install conventional OSSF systems (septic tanks, absorptive drainfields, unlined ET drainfields, leaching chambers, gravel-less pipe, and pumped effluent drainfields). Installer Class II (OSII) is authorized to install ALL types of OSSF systems (including aerobic systems).

What is a Site Designer?

In order to legally provide a site design, a person must be recognized as a registered sanitarian by the Texas Department of State Health Services or as a professional engineer by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.