Rebuilding Together

Well, Septic, & Sewer

Rebuilding information related to water wells, septic systems, and sewers in areas affected by the Sonoma Complex Fire and Kincade Fire.

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Septic Systems

Residential Fire Rebuilding Septic System Site Evaluations

In an effort to provide greater customer service and efficiency to the septic permitting process related to fire rebuilding, participation by Permit Sonoma staff in septic site evaluation field work (soil profile evaluations, groundwater determinations, and percolation testing) will not be required for single-lot residential developments on legally existing parcels. Qualified Consultants shall independently perform septic site evaluations related to fire rebuilding septic permits. Process and Procedure Documents

Permitting Guidelines for Fire Damaged Septic Systems

Find out what type of septic system repair and replacement requires a permit and what type does not require a permit for properties impacted by the Sonoma Complex Fire and Kincade Fire.

Septic System Evaluations for Rebuilding and Temporary Housing for Major Wildfires

Permit Sonoma has developed a new form for Professionals to use to document the location and evaluate the condition of septic systems. This form is intended to streamline the findings report creation and review process related to fire rebuilding after the the Sonoma Complex Fire and Kincade Fire.

Non-Standard Septic System Operational Permit Fees

In May 2018, Permit Sonoma issued prorated refund vouchers for the fiscal year 2017-2018 non-operational septic systems impacted by the fires. These non-standard septic systems are assumed to not have been functioning since October 2017. As such, Permit Sonoma is issuing prorated refund equivalent to three-quarters of the operational permit program (OPR Program) fee paid for fiscal year 2017-2018.

Water Wells

Well Water Recommendations and Requirements After Wildfire Storms

As an owner of a private domestic water well that may be damaged by a wildfire, you may have some concerns about fire related impacts to your well and water system. Sonoma County recommends the well owner perform a visual inspection of their well and water system, including the piping and plumbing that provide water to and throughout your home.

Larkfield Estates Holding Tank Option

Larkfield Estates Subdivision Zone Map

View the Larkfield Estates Subdivision Zone Map

Due to the unprecedented fires that devastated our community in October 2017, Larkfield Estates property owners are challenged with rebuilding, including the best way to manage wastewater. Lots in the subdivision have varying types of septic systems. Many of the properties have serviceable septic systems that can accommodate reconstruction. Other parcels have systems that could support redevelopment but not to the scale at which owners are allowed to rebuild under existing zoning regulations. Some sites have failed systems that need to be replaced.

To provide another option to fire survivors, the Sonoma County Water Agency will consider extension of sewer service to the subdivision. For those owners who wish to connect their properties to the sewer main (which, if approved, will take at least a year to authorize and construct) and proceed with reconstruction, Permit Sonoma would allow the use of holding tanks as an interim measure. Properties with compliant septic systems will not be compelled to connect to new main.

In providing this option Permit Sonoma does not take a position on whether owners should connect their properties to the sewer system, if approved and constructed. The agency takes this action regarding holding tanks to provide another option for fire survivors trying to rebuild on or sell their properties.

Regulations allow the use of holding tanks under certain conditions. Sonoma County Code Section 713.9 provides, “No privy [holding tank], including vault privies, chemical privies, pit privies or cesspools shall be constructed, maintained or used except upon written approval of the Director of the Permit and Resource Management Department (Permit Sonoma) unless otherwise specifically permitted by law.” The Regional Water Quality Control Board Basin Plan provides for the use of holding tanks if the proposed use is in a sewer service area, sewer service extension is underway and will be completed in two years, and the treatment plant has capacity to meet the proposed users’ needs.

Permit Sonoma will track the use of holding tanks through building permit applications. No additional permits will be required. For the best use of holding tanks, please visit or contact the Resiliency Permit Center at:

448 Fiscal Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.46539, -122.724121

Permit Sonoma

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Permit Sonoma

Permit Sonoma handles construction and land use permitting for unincorporated Sonoma County.

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