There are two options for the treatment of household wastewater in Hamilton County – sewers or household sewage treatment systems (septic systems).
Septic systems treat wastewater from your home (dishwasher, showers, toilets, washing machine, sinks, etc.) using soil absorption, aeration and septic tanks. Hamilton County Public Health inspects septic systems in Hamilton County to ensure that they are working properly and are not creating a public health nuisance.
The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) maintains the county’s sanitary sewer system, which treats all wastewater in Hamilton County.
Property Owner Requirements
Ohio law and Hamilton County Policies and Standards requires homes within a certain distance of a sanitary sewer system to connect to it, regardless of whether or not that home has a properly functioning septic system. If you are required to connect to a sanitary sewer, you will receive a letter from the Health District explaining the steps you should take and the time frame within which you have to complete them. In most cases, those steps include:
- Obtain a sewer tap permit from MSD. Contact MSD at (513) 244-1330.
- Obtain an abandonment permit for your current household sewage treatment system. Contact the Health District’s Plumbing Division at (513) 946-7854.
- Have your home/building’s sewer directly connected to the sanitary sewer available to your property.
Property Owner Costs
The Hamilton County Commissioners fund construction of local sewers by charging an “assessment” to the benefited properties. The amount of a construction assessment depends on the sewer’s actual construction costs.
A property owner will incur the following construction costs:
- Local sewer construction assessment
- Plumber’s charges for connecting to the sewer system
- Filling/closing onsite septic system
- Tap-in fee and various permit fees
Financial assistance may be available to Hamilton County homeowners who are required to connect to sanitary sewer. Please view our Financial Aid for Sewer Connections and Septic System Replacement Fact Sheet to determine if you qualify.
- Assessment Assistance – It is the policy of the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners to encourage public sewers and to help financing sewer improvements. Special assessments made be levied on properties receiving benefit from public sewer improvement. Total actual costs of the local public sewer improvement in excess of $12,000 per benefited property is funded from Metropolitan Sewer District. Also, property owners may, if they choose, pay the assessment (plus finance charges) over a 20-year period. Visit www.msdgc.org for more information.
- Connection Fee Assistance – The Hamilton County Planning and Development Water and Sewer Grant Program provides one-time grants up to $6,500 to income eligible property owners. Only residents living in Hamilton County, outside the limits of Cincinnati, are eligible. When connecting to public sewers, the loan or grant does not apply toward assessment costs, only to sewer tapping costs. Homeowner must be approved for the grant prior to construction. Please call 513-946-8230 for more information.
- Abandoning a Septic System
- Application to Abandon a Sewer Treatment System
- Connecting to Sewers Fact Sheet
- Financial Aid Fact Sheet
- Metropolitan Sewer District