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Opportunity to comment on hardship guidelines for VDH design for septic and well services

With passage of HB 888 during the 2018 legislative session, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is making the transition to outsourcing evaluation and design services for onsite sewage systems and private wells for new construction to the private sector. VDH will continue to provide regulatory oversight of private sector providers of these services and serve as “a provider of last resort for a property owner who demonstrates a specific hardship in obtaining private sector evaluation and design services.”

Per the recently adopted 2019 Legislative Program, “VACo supports the private sector providing onsite sewage system design, installation, and repair services, as long as the services can be provided at affordable rates and in a timely manner, and as long as VDH continues to provide these direct services as well.”

By July 1, 2019 VDH must develop guidelines for qualifying hardships based on:

  • the availability of properly licensed service providers working within a locality or region;
  • the disciplinary history of private sector providers, and
  • the cost of private sector services.

A draft of these guidelines is now available for review and comment. Comments on this initial draft may be submitted online at this VDH webpage. For any questions regarding the initial draft, contact Lance Gregory, Director of the Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services, Environmental Engineering, and Marina Programs, at 804.864.7491 or by email at

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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