Septic Regulations and Permitting

The Planning and Zoning Office administers the Septic Regulations within the Town of Lake George, which are found below and within Chapter 115 of the Town Code. All Septic permits must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Office and certain applications need to be approved by the Consolidated Board of Health. Also below are state regulations on septic systems.

Septic Initiative Program Report

The Lake George Consolidated Board of Health is responsible within the town to implement the Public Health Law and Sanitary Code of the State of New York. On May 29, 2013, the Consolidated Board of Health introduced the “Septic Initiative Program.” This program worked to catalog all existing onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) within the town and set up an inspection program, with the goal to ensure that OWTS (also known as septic systems) are functioning optimally. Completion of the “Pre-Inspection Worksheet for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems” is a necessary first step for property owners and will assist the town in assessing if systems are functioning optimally or if they are hazardous to human or environmental health.

Onsite wastewater treatment systems are effective when properly designed, installed, and maintained. However, an inadequate OWTS, lack of routine maintenance, increased seasonal usage, undersized and overused systems, or the installation of septic systems on sites with unacceptable soil conditions can all lead to wastewater treatment failure. In addition, these OWTS in close proximity to Lake George or a stream flowing to the lake can negatively impact water quality and our drinking water. “Your Septic System” is a good resource for information about your home’s onsite wastewater treatment system and its required maintenance (published by Cornell Cooperative Extension).

At this time, the Town of Lake George has finished the Septic Initiative Program report and is striving towards implementation. If you live within 500 feet of Lake George or within 100 feet of a stream, tributary, or wetland, you have received a letter and a Pre Inspection Worksheet from the Town of Lake George and may have participated in the inventory process.  If you have scheduled a septic system inspection and/or pump out, please call the office so that staff can join you on site if warranted.


EPA Encourages Homeowners and Communities to Maintain Septic Systems

WASHINGTON —Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — in conjunction with federal, state and local government and private sector partners — is kicking off its fourth annual SepticSmart Week to encourage American homeowners and communities to properly maintain their septic systems. More than 26 million homes in the United States — one in five households — depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses and household hazardous waste to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health and the environment and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs. “By taking small steps to maintain septic systems, homeowners not only protect our nation’s public health and keep our water clean, but also save money and protect their property values,” said Joel Beauvais, Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water.

Simple tips for homeowners:

  • Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to their state or local health department’s recommendations. Tanks should be pumped when necessary, typically every three to five years.
  • Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease, and solids down the drain. These substances can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
  • Don’t Overload the Commode: Only put things in the drain or toilet that belong there. For example, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems.
  • Don’t Strain Your Drain: Be water efficient and spread out water use. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products. Spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day: too much water at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
  • Shield Your Field: Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drainfield, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

EPA’s SepticSmart program educates homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance all year long. In addition, it serves as an online resource for industry practitioners, local governments and community organizations, providing access to tools to educate clients and residents. For information on SepticSmart Week or tips on how to properly maintain your septic system, visit