Permitting and Variances – Residential

Our thorough knowledge of the permitting process/requirements and experience with thousands of system designs allows us to provide you with a complete packet to submit to the Health Department for both residential and commercial sites. We can “pull” permits upon request but prefer to have the applicant submit the application because the packet that we return to you is essentially everything you need for submittal. You need only attach the floor plan to our packet and walk it to the County Health Department. There’s no other preparation on your part. You can even deduct $115 from the application fee as the Health Department will not be making a trip to your site.

We have dealt with hundreds of problematic sites and are also very familiar with the variance process. A variance must be applied for when there is a hardship that results in a proposed system that does not meet code for some reason. There might be a setback requirement that cannot be met, a space issue, a lot flow allowance that is exceeded or any number of other reasons.

When a hardship exists, an alternative to the conventional septic system is usually the solution. We have been very successful in designing systems that overcome most of the difficulties that might be encountered. However, there are sites that just cannot accommodate a system that meets all aspects of the code. These are the sites that require a variance. We can assist you in the variance process or we can prepare the variance application and provide representation before the variance committee.

Florida Statutes for Variances

381.0065(4)(h)1., Florida Statutes – The department may grant variances in hardship cases which may be less restrictive than the provisions specified in this section. If a variance is granted and the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system construction permit has been issued, the variance may be transferred with the system construction permit, if the transferee files, within 60 days after the transfer of ownership, an amended construction permit application providing all corrected information and proof of ownership of the property and if the same variance would have been required for the new owner of the property as was originally granted to the original applicant for the variance. There is no fee associated with the processing of this supplemental information. A variance may not be granted under this section until the department is satisfied that:
a. The hardship was not caused intentionally by the action of the applicant;
b. No reasonable alternative, taking into consideration factors such as cost, exists for the treatment of the sewage; and
c. The discharge from the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system will not adversely affect the health of the applicant or the public or significantly degrade the groundwater or surface waters.

Where soil conditions, water table elevation, and setback provisions are determined by the department to be satisfactory, special consideration must be given to those lots platted before 1972.
2. The department shall appoint and staff a variance review and advisory committee, which shall meet monthly to recommend agency action on variance requests. The committee shall make its recommendations on variance requests at the meeting in which the application is scheduled for consideration, except for an extraordinary change in circumstances, the receipt of new information that raises new issues, or when the applicant requests an extension. The committee shall consider the criteria in subparagraph 1. in its recommended agency action on variance requests and shall also strive to allow property owners the full use of their land where possible. The committee consists of the following:
a. The Division Director for Environmental Health of the department or his or her designee.
b. A representative from the county health departments.
c. A representative from the home building industry recommended by the Florida Home Builders Association.
d. A representative from the septic tank industry recommended by the Florida Onsite Wastewater Association.
e. A representative from the Department of Environmental Protection.
f. A representative from the real estate industry who is also a developer in this state who develops lots using onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems, recommended by the Florida Association of Realtors.
g. A representative from the engineering profession recommended by the Florida Engineering Society.

Members shall be appointed for a term of 3 years, with such appointments being staggered so that the terms of no more than two members expire in any one year. Members shall serve without remuneration, but if requested, shall be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
Go to www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/ostds/variance/mainvari.htm for more information.