Environmental Health

Mission Statement

To support and enforce the Riley County Sanitary Code through education, evaluation, permits and inspection.  The sanitary code establishes standards to eliminate and/or prevent the development of environmental conditions that are hazardous to health and safety, and promotes the economical and planned development of the land and water resources for the county.

Water Supply Requirements

No private water supply shall be drilled without first submitting a completed Private Water Supply Well application and fee to Riley County Planning & Development. Within 30 days after construction or plugging of a water well, the water well contractor shall submit a copy of the water well record.  The minimum separation requirements from a private wastewater disposal system or septic tank is 100 feet.  The minimum separation requirements from dwellings and structures which might be treated for terminate infestation is 50 feet.  For all other separation requirements please refer the Riley County Sanitary Code.

Water services provided:

Private Wastewater Disposal System Installation Requirements

Environmental Health oversees the construction of new private wastewater disposal systems and the repair of existing systems.  Installation of a private wastewater disposal system is a multi-step process as follows:

Step 1: Soil Profile Analysis

A completed Profile/Percolation Test application and fee must be submitted by the property owner or a licensed installer to the Riley County Planning & Development Department to start the process.
The property owner or licensed installer will be responsible for hiring a backhoe operator who will schedule the analysis on-site with the Environmental Health Specialist.  It is recommended the homeowner and installer attend the meeting.  The backhoe operator will dig profile holes, five (5) foot deep and three (3) foot wide, in designated locations in order to determine the best soil conditions.  The properties of the soil, such as texture and structure, are analyzed as well as the depth of ground water, seasonal water table and bedrock.  Upon completion of the analysis, the profile holes are to be backfilled by the backhoe operator.
If the soil is not acceptable, a Wastewater Stabilization Pond (“lagoon”) will be required as described in Step 4.

Step 2: Percolation Test

If the soil is acceptable a percolation test will need to be completed.  Before the test can be conducted, an additional fee must be submitted to the Riley County Planning & Development Department by either the property owner or the licensed installer.  The property owner or licensed installer shall dig four postholes, which are two (2) feet deep and six (6) to eight (8) inches in diameter.  All holes should be covered with plywood for safety and to keep dry until tested.  When necessary, a mowed path to the testing site shall be provided. Once these preparations are completed the Environmental Health Specialist shall be notified to conduct the percolation test. 

The purpose of the test is to determine the suitability of the soil for absorption and treatment of the effluent.  Upon completion of the percolation test, the Environmental Health Specialist will design the private wastewater disposal system.  Upon completion of the test, the test holes are to be backfilled.

Step 3: Installation of Standard System

Prior to the installation of a standard private wastewater disposal system (“standard system”), the property owner or the licensed installer shall submit a completed Wastewater System with Standard Field application and fee. The specifications regarding the size and installation requirements for the standard system will be provided to the licensed installer.

A standard system will typically consist of three parts, the two-compartment septic tank, the filter and the soil absorption area (lateral field).  The septic tank receives and provides primary treatment for the raw sewage.  The filter is designed to remove solids before entering the soil absorption area.  The soil absorption area provides treatment of the remaining wastewater from the septic tank
Septic tanks shall be pumped and inspected by a licensed hauler a minimum of every five (5) years to verify the tees are in place and the tank has not deteriorated. The hauler submits a pumping report of every tank pumped to Environmental Health. If the tank is no longer structurally sound or is not watertight, it must be replaced.

Step 4: Installation of Wastewater Stabilization Pond

The property owner or the licensed installer shall submit a completed Wastewater Stabilization Pond application and fee.  The Wastewater Stabilization Pond Permit will not be issued until the lagoon construction is approved, the fence is constructed according to the fencing requirements, a lock is placed on the gate, and the berms are seeded with grass.

Step 5:  Installation of Alternative System

If neither the standard system nor lagoon are feasible options due to physical characteristics of the site, an Alternative Private Wastewater Disposal System (“alternative system”) shall be required.  Various types of alternative systems are approved for use in Riley County.  All alternative systems shall be subject to an annual inspection.

The alternative system owner will be required to maintain the system in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the "Riley County Environmental Health Administrative Standards for Alternative System Inspection and Maintenance."

The alternative system will be subject to only an annual inspection by one of two optional methods:

a. Option 1: The Riley County Environmental Health Specialist will conduct the annual       inspection and generate a compliance report filed with this office. (The Environmental Health Specialist will not perform maintenance on the system.)

b. Option 2: The system owner or owner's designee will conduct the annual inspection in the presence of the Environmental Health Specialist, who will generate a compliance report filed with this office. (The Environmental Health Specialist will not perform maintenance on the system.)

If the compliance report shows an alternative system is not in compliance the owner must bring the system into compliance, which may require the owner to apply for a repair permit. A re-inspection as described in paragraph 4 is required as a final step. 

The cost of the annual inspection will be $100.00 and any re-inspection will be $75.00.  All alternative system owners will be billed the $100.00 for the initial inspection at the start of each calendar year.  The Environmental Health Specialist will contact the owner to schedule the system's inspection.

Private Wastewater Disposal System Repair Requirements

No person shall repair or modify any private wastewater disposal system unless that person holds a valid license issued by Riley County.  No repair or modification shall be made to an existing wastewater disposal system until a completed Repair Wastewater System application and fee has been submitted to Riley County Planning & Development.

Finding a Licensed Installer or Licensed Hauler

Riley County licenses the installers of private wastewater disposal systems.  Riley County also licenses the septic haulers who pump, clean and inspect septic tanks and transport the septage to disposal sites. Theses licenses are renewed annually.  Riley County does not endorse any particular individual or company.

Maintaining Your Wastewater System with Standard Field

Care of the septic system:
Have your tank pumped, by a licensed hauler, a minimum of every 5 years; 
NEVER enter the septic tank as there are dangerous gases present;
Monitor your lateral field for pooling;
If pooling is present, contact a licensed installer.  A repair permit will be required     from Environmental Health;
Contact Environmental Health prior to any building additions, fencing, decking,       exterior buildings or alterations to your property.

To extend the useful life of your lateral field, conserve water by:
Using your garbage disposal sparingly;
Spreading out water usage during the day;
Spreading out laundry during the week;
Repairing leaky faucets and valves;
Using water conservation fixtures.

Do not put these items down the drain or toilet:

  • Bones
  • Chemicals
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Condoms
  • Degreasers
  • Diapers
  • Egg Shells
  • Enzyme or septic additives
  • Fats, Oils or Grease
  • Glass
  • Glass
  • Kitty Litter
  • Metal
  • Paint
  • Pesticides
  • Poisons
  • Rags
  • Sand
  • Solvents
  • Wet wipes (even flushable)
  • Tampons
  • Water softener or reverse osmosis wastewater discharge
Care of Lateral Field:

Do not park equipment or vehicles (cars, motorhomes, trailers, etc.) on the lateral   field;
Do not allow livestock onto the lateral field;
Do not plant trees or vegetables on the lateral field;
Direct downspouts and rainwater away from the lateral field
Do not build anything (including fire pits) on the lateral field;
Plant only grass over the lateral field and keep it mowed;
Keep underground irrigation systems 25 feet from the lateral field;
Broken inspection ports on the lateral field must be repaired by a licensed  installer.

Environmental Evaluations

Sale of Property Containing a Private Wastewater Disposal System and/or Water Well

An environmental evaluation is often requested upon a sale of property.  An environmental evaluation is an inspection of the existing private water and private wastewater disposal system and verification of connection to a public water and/or public wastewater system serving a property.  The evaluation may involve well sampling, the functional components of the system, lot site conditions and a historical file review.

To initiate the evaluation process, a completed Application for Environmental Evaluation, signed by the property owner, and fee shall be submitted to the Riley County Planning & Development office.  The Environmental Health Specialist will then contact the seller or representative to set a time and date for the inspection.  The seller or a representative of the property must be available to provide access to the house so the Environmental Health Specialist can complete the evaluation.
Any evaluation provided shall not constitute nor be deemed a warranty, and neither Riley County nor any official of the County shall be held liable for claims arising out of the evaluation.  Upon completion of the evaluation a written report will be issued.

Other Environmental Evaluations

An environmental evaluation may also be requested at any time by the property owner for any reason other than sale of property.

Other Services Provided:

The Environmental Health Specialist is also available to assist with questions regarding other environmental conditions.