The following information about the ADEQ transfer of ownership
inspection program is available on the Internet:
• Text of the ADEQ rule governing transfer of ownership inspections
for on-site wastewater treatment facilities:
(scroll down to Arizona Administrative Code R18-9-A316 pages 42-43).
• Description of the Comprehensive Septic Tank Inspection
Program, including regular program information updates,
answers to frequently asked questions, downloadable forms and
brochures, and links to important information about qualified
• Forward questions for ADEQ staff to: Septic_inspection@azdeq.gov
1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 771-2300 AZ Toll Free: (800) 234-5677
(602) 771-4829 (Hearing impaired)
Northern Regional Office
1801 W. Route 66, Suite 117, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 779-0313 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern Regional Office
400 W. Congress, Tucson, AZ 85701
(520) 628-6733 Email: email@example.com
Northwestern Arizona - (928) 779-0313
Northeastern Arizona - (928) 337-3565
Southwestern Arizona - (928) 373-9432
Southeastern Arizona - (928) 348-3040
Publication #: C 06-07 Updated 3-2011
Comprehensive Septic Tank
As of July 1, 2006, new Arizona Department of Environmental
Quality rules require any person transferring a property served
by an on-site wastewater treatment facility to have an inspection of
the facility performed before the transfer of ownership. This
requirement applies to any property served by:
• A conventional septic tank system, or
• An alternative on-site system used instead
of a conventional system.
This is a change from the original ADEQ inspection program, which
required only newer systems to be inspected at the time of property
To summarize the new program, all on-site systems, regardless of the
date of construction, must be inspected when ownership of the
Why is this important?
ADEQ’s on-site system program is intended to protect public health and prevent contamination
of Arizona’s surface water and groundwater resources. The transfer of ownership inspection is
one component of this program to achieve these public health and water quality protection goals.
Specifically, if you own a property that is served by a septic tank or alternative wastewater
treatment and disposal system, you must have the system inspected when you sell or oth-erwise
transfer ownership of the property. If you are a real estate professional, you need to be
aware of the new inspection requirements because a great number of property transactions in
Arizona involve a septic tank or alternative system.
The new inspection requirements ensure that a consistent procedure for inspections and
permit transfers of ownership are used throughout Arizona. The requirements also are designed
to mesh with the inspection provisions contained in the standard Arizona Association of
REALTORS® real estate contract. In many property transactions, it is anticipated that REALTORS®
will facilitate the filing of required forms by sellers and buyers.
By way of background, ADEQ regulates all sewage treatment facilities in Arizona under its
Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) program, from large regional wastewater treatment plants to
household on-site systems consisting of a septic tank or alternative system. ADEQ regulates on-site
systems under “general permit” provisions of the APP program, with permitting functions per-formed
by ADEQ or, more usually, by a local county government agency authorized by ADEQ to
perform those duties.
ADEQ’s regulatory program:
• Prescribes the permitting process for on-site systems,
• Establishes site investigation and design standards, and
• Specifies the permittee’s (owner’s) operation and maintenance responsibilities.
What are the inspection steps?
1. The transferor (owner, seller) of the property served by the on-site system must retain an
inspector to perform the inspection not more than 6 months before the date of the
2. The inspector must be qualified. According to ADEQ rules, the inspector must meet all of the
a. Possess working knowledge of the type of facility and the inspection process,
b. Hold a certificate of training from a course for inspectors recognized by ADEQ (ADEQ has
collaborated with the University of Arizona and others to provide such courses), AND
c. Hold a license in one of the following categories:
1) An Arizona-registered engineer,
2) An Arizona-registered sanitarian,
3) An owner of a vehicle licensed under ADEQ rules to pump or haul septage, or an
employee of the licensee,
4) A contractor licensed as either a B-4, C-41, A, A-12, L-41, KA, or K-41 contractor by the
Arizona Registrar of Contractors,
5) A wastewater treatment operator certified by ADEQ, or
6) A person qualifying under another category designated by ADEQ.
3. The inspector performs the inspection. The inspector records the information on the ADEQ Report
of Inspection form, signs and dates the form, and delivers it to the transferor of the property.
4. Before the property is transferred, the transferor must provide the transferee (buyer, new
owner) of the property the following:
a. The completed ADEQ Report of Inspection form, and
b. Any documents in the transferor’s possession relating to permitting, operation, and
maintenance of the on-site system.
5. The transferee (buyer) must complete the ADEQ Notice of Transfer form and submit it with
the applicable ADEQ fee (set by rule at $50) within 15 days following the property transfer.
ADEQ will be automating the process in late 2006 and details will be posted on the ADEQ
Web site at: www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/permits/wastewater.html#onsiteseptic.
The automated filing process will simplify filing by allowing everything to be done over the
Internet including payment of fee.
Exception for the unused on-site system.
If ADEQ authorized construction of the on-site wastewater treatment facility under its permitting
program, but the facility was not put into service before the property transfer, the transfer of
ownership inspection is not required. However, the transferee (new owner of the property) must
still file the ADEQ Notice of Transfer form and fee.
For example, a person buying a property from a builder who had constructed a new home
with an on-site system would have to file the ADEQ Notice of Transfer form, but the builder would
not have to obtain a transfer of ownership inspection of the new system under the ADEQ rule.
However, the buyer may want an inspection performed as a provision of the real estate sale
What must the inspector do?
1. The inspector must address the physical and operational condition of the on-site wastewater
treatment facility and describe observed deficiencies and repairs completed, if any, on the
Report of Inspection form.
2. The inspector must indicate on the Report of Inspection form that each septic tank or waste-water
treatment vessel on the property was pumped or was otherwise serviced to remove, to
the maximum extent possible, solid, floating, and liquid waste accumulations. The ADEQ rule
allows exceptions from the pumping requirement in three circumstances:
a. A Discharge Authorization (permit) was previously issued for the system and the system
was put into service less than 12 months before the date of the property transfer,
b. Pumping or servicing was not needed at the time of inspection based on manufacturer’s
written operation and maintenance instructions (this may apply to certain alternative
c. No accumulation of floating or settled waste was present in the septic tank or wastewater
treatment container (this may exempt certain remote or seasonal systems that get very
3. As described earlier, once the inspector completes, signs and dates the ADEQ Report of
Inspection form the inspector delivers it to the transferor of the property.
WELL KNOWN FACT
Pumping the septic tank is the single most important thing that can
be done to maintain and extend the life of the system.
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