Septic Tank and Chemical Toilet Waste Pumping and Disposal Program

Pumper trucks collect liquid waste from septic tanks, chemical toilets and vaults.  This waste is then transported to an approved waste water treatment facility in a sanitary manner. Environmental Health inspects and issues permits for each pumper truck.  Pumper trucks must be in compliance with state and local regulations and ordinances in order to operate.

Permitting Your Pumper Truck

In order to permit your pumper truck, you will need to do the following:

  1. Execute a bond that meets the following requirements:
    • for $1,000
    • conditioned upon the faithful performance of the terms and conditions
    • actively renewed before expiration date
    • filed with the County
  2. Complete and submit an application.   All pumper trucks for your facility can be on one application.
  3. Pay the fee of $516 per vehicle

Once the application has been approved, Environmental Health will inspect your vehicle.  Once your pumper truck meets all the requirements and passes inspection a permit to operate will be issued.

    Maintaining Your Permit

    Daily and Monthly

    • Log each pumper truck's daily activities.
    • Submit each pumper truck's log to Environmental Health on a monthly basis for review
    • Update Environmental Health immediately with any changes to DMV license plates, when adding or removing a pumper truck from the permit
    • Update Environmental Health within 2 days of a change of address


    • Pay your invoice in October
    • Have each pumper truck inspected by Environmental Health

    Pumper Truck Requirements

    • Each pumper truck tank must be of metal construction and must be watertight and splash proof. A measuring device must be provided on each vehicle to measure accurately the contents of the tank.
    • Each pumper's pump must be constructed so that there is no leakage, spillage or splashing onto the outer surfaces of the tank or other equipment.
    • Each pumper truck must carry at all times a spill kit consisting of absorbent material or a containment boom, shovel and a container to mitigate accidental and incidental spillage.
    • A leakproof gate valve must be provided on each tank for the discharge or loading of the contents. Vehicles must also have a leakproof screw plug or cap on each valve at all times.
    • The cap must be chained at all times.
    • A pipe or hose of sufficient length (at least 50' long) to extend into a sewer manhole or disposal pit must be provided. The pipe or hose must be completely drained into the manhole or pit to avoid any spillage of contents onto the ground.
    • All racks for carrying equipment on the truck must be made of metal.
    • All parts of the truck and equipment must be designed and maintained to be easily cleanable.
    • Each vehicle must have the following information printed on both sides of the tank or truck in letters at least 4 inches high with strokes at least 1/2 inch wide:
      • Name and address of the company.
      • Capacity of the tank in gallons.

    Pumping and Cleaning Operations

    • Each compartment of a septic tank must be pumped whenever it is opened for cleaning. If problems are noted with the septic system, please inform the property owner that permits are required to repair or replace any portion of a septic system.
    • Cleaning operations must be conducted in a manner that will not endanger human health or the environment. Any spillage of sewage must be cleaned immediately.

    Disposal Sites

    All waste must be disposed of at an approved disposal facility. These include:

    • Sewage treatment facilities: A permittee must obtain approval or a permit from a sewering entity authorizing him to dispose of sewage in its sewage treatment facility.
    • Refuse disposal sites (landfill): A permittee must provide the name and location of the landfill.
    • Out-of-county sites: When a proposed disposal site is not in Sonoma County, written approval from the Environmental Health office having jurisdiction of the proposed site must be submitted by the permittee.

    Waste must be disposed of in a manner approved of and at sites approved by Sonoma County Environmental Health and Safety. Sewage wastes can transmit diseases to humans. Wastes must not be disposed of in water courses, streams, storm drains, onto the ground surface, roadsides, near wells, on lawns, gardens, crops, nor in floodplains. Any spilled wastes must be immediately cleaned up.

    Environmental Health reserves the right to require special disposal conditions for a permittee if problems should arise from his or her operation. Disposal at sites other than those approved by Environmental Health is a violation of Sections 25000-25010 of the California Health and Safety Code.

    Chemical Toilet Requirements

    • Toilet facilities must be designed, constructed and maintained to prevent the access of flies or vermin to the wastes.
    • The interior surfaces of all toilet facilities must be of durable, non-absorbent material, smooth, easily cleanable, and finished in a light color.
    • Each toilet seat must be smooth, durable, easily cleanable, and non-absorbent.
    • The toilet facilities must be ventilated and provided with self-closing doors, lockable from the inside.
    • The tanks of chemical toilets must be constructed of durable, easily cleanable material. Tank size must be sufficient to contain the initial chemical charge and provide capacity for at least one day's use for forty persons (a minimum tank capacity of forty gallons must be provided).
    • Construction of the tank must be such as to prevent spillage from occurring when tipped or turned over.
    • Only biodegradable chemicals, capable of controlling odors, disinfecting, and liquefying solids, must be used in chemical toilets.
    • Disposal of contents of chemical toilets must be into an approved disposal site.
    • A copy of a permit to dispose of waste at an approved disposal site must be on file with Environmental Health prior to the rental of any chemical toilet in Sonoma County.
    • Toilet facilities must be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner, free of odor and stains.
    • Each chemical toilet must be identified with the name of the company and a unit number.
    • The lettering must be at least three (3) inches in height with strokes at least 1/2 inch wide.
    • Chemical toilets must be stored at a site approved by Environmental Health.

    Contact Information

    Public Health Division
    County of Sonoma
    Business Hours
    Monday – Friday
    8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Office Location
    625 5th Street
    Santa Rosa, CA 95404
    38.44178, -122.7158781

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