NEBRASKA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Title 124 - Rules And Regulations For The Design, Operation And Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
Chapter 23 - Tank Pumping and Domestic Septage Disposal

001 Domestic septage shall be removed from a septic tank whenever the top of the sludge layer is less than 12 inches below the bottom of the outlet baffles, whenever the bottom of the scum layer is less than three inches above the bottom of the outlet baffle, or whenever the top of the scum layer is within one inch of the top of the outlet baffle.

002 Domestic septage shall be removed from a holding tank whenever the liquid level reaches 90 percent of effective tank capacity.

003 Tank contents shall be stirred, mixed, or agitated to suspend all solids in the liquid prior to removing the contents for disposal.

004 The entire contents of the tank, liquids and solids, shall be removed. If tank is refilled after pumping, it shall be filled with clear water.

005 Tank shall be pumped through the access manhole. Pumping of tank through baffle inspection ports is prohibited unless no other access port or manhole exists and the integrity of the baffle is maintained.

006 Disinfectant or anti-bacterial products shall not be used to clean the tank except as an optional step in preparing the tank for closure.

007 The allowable methods for disposal of domestic septage shall be discharge to a publicly owned wastewater treatment facility, land application as provided for in this chapter, or other methods approved by the Department. Land application of wastewater containing high strength disinfectants, biological inhibitors, or deodorants or similar chemicals (such as those used in camper waste tanks, laboratories, medical or veterinary facilities, or industrial facilities) is prohibited.

008 Domestic septage may be discharged to a publicly owned wastewater treatment facility that has a designated or certified operator certified with the Department provided that the septage is discharged with written permission of and under all rules, regulations, guidelines, directions, and requests of the facility owner or operator.

009 Domestic septage may be land applied under the following conditions:

009.01 Only non-public contact sites such as agricultural land, forests, and reclamation land shall be used for land application of domestic septage.

009.02 Land application of domestic septage without the landowner’s written permission is prohibited.

009.03 Land application of domestic septage is prohibited within the setback distances in Table 23.1.
TABLE 23.1

Feature
Minimum Setback
Surface Water:
100 ft. (30 m.)
Public Drinking Water Supply Wells:
1000 ft. (300 m.)
All Other Water Wells:
200 ft. (60 m.)
Water Lines:
50 ft. (15 m.)
Property Line:
200 ft. (60 m.)
Public Road Right-of Way:
200 ft. (60 m.)
Buildings used for human occupancy:
500 ft. (150 m.)
009.04 Vector Attraction Reduction

009.04A Untreated domestic septage shall be injected below the surface of the land and no significant amount of septage shall be present on the land surface within one hour after injection, or

009.04B Untreated domestic septage shall be incorporated into the soil by disking or plowing within six hours after application.

009.04C Domestic septage that is applied to the land surface and is not injected or plowed-in within six hours shall be treated prior to application by raising and holding its pH at a level of 12 or higher for a minimum of 30 minutes. The minimum treatment method for raising the pH of the domestic septage shall be the addition and thorough mixing of no less than 50 pounds of hydrated lime per 1,000 gallons of septage.

009.05 Crop, Grazing and Site Restrictions, and Pathogen Reduction

009.05A Land application of domestic septage is prohibited:

009.05A.1 On land from which human food crops with harvested parts below the ground such as but not limited to potatoes or beets will be harvested in the next 38 months after application;

009.05A.2 On land from which human food crops with harvested parts touching the ground surface such as but not limited to melons will be harvested in the next 14 months after application;

009.05A.3 On land from which human food crops with harvested parts that do not touch the ground surface such as but not limited to dry edible beans or sweet corn will be harvested in the next 30 days after application;

009.05A.4 On land from which crops grown for animal food or fiber will be harvested in the next 30 days after application;

009.05A.5 On land on which turf grass is grown for transplantation to lawns and other areas with potential for frequent human contact;

009.05A.6 On land on which livestock will be grazed in the next 30 days after application; and

009.05A.7 In areas readily accessible or frequently used by the public such as but not limited to parks, golf courses, sports fields, recreational lands, or residential or business development areas.

009.05B Public access to land where domestic septage is applied shall be restricted by fencing, no-trespassing signs, or remoteness for a minimum of 30 days after application of septage.

009.05C The Master Pumper, Journeyman Pumper, registered environmental health specialist, or professional engineer applying the domestic septage shall inform the land owner of all harvesting, grazing, and site access restrictions.

009.06 Land application of domestic septage at a rate that exceeds the amount of nitrogen required by the crop or vegetation is prohibited. When calculating maximum nitrogen application rates, all other sources of nitrogen such as livestock manure or commercial fertilizer shall be deducted from total nitrogen requirement.

009.07 Domestic septage shall be spread, sprayed, or injected in a manner that does not cause localized pooling, ponding, or runoff. Application of septage using a rate or method that creates a layer of septage exceeding one-quarter inch thick at any location on the ground surface immediately following application is prohibited.

009.08 Land application of domestic septage on saturated, frozen, or snow-covered ground is prohibited except as provided below for an emergency situation where the air temperature is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the distance to a suitable storage facility or publicly owned wastewater treatment facility for proper storage or disposal is more than 30 miles, and no other reasonable disposal or storage method is available.

009.08A The ground slope of the land application site shall not exceed five percent and the site shall be covered with dense perennial vegetation;

009.08B The waste shall be treated as provided for in 009.04C above and the land application rate shall not exceed 10,000 gallons per acre regardless of the nitrogen content of the waste;

009.08C The minimum setback requirements in Table 23.1 shall be doubled;

009.08D The recorded information shall include a description of the emergency situation and include air temperature, distance to nearest suitable storage facility or publicly owned wastewater treatment facility, and a description of the soil conditions; and

009.08D All other requirements of this Chapter shall be met.

010 Record Keeping

010.01 The Master Pumper, Journeyman Pumper, registered environmental health specialist, or professional engineer shall keep records of all domestic septage pumped for a minimum of five years and shall make the records available to the Department upon request.

010.02 When domestic septage is disposed of at a publicly owned wastewater treatment facility, the following information shall be recorded for each load disposed:

010.02A Date of disposal.

010.02B Name and location of treatment facility.

010.02C Total gallons disposed per load.

010.02D Date of pumping of each tank pumped per load.

010.02E Sources (owner name and address of each tank pumped per load).

010.02F Gallons pumped from each source per load.

010.02G Name, certificate or license number, and signature of the Master Pumper, Journeyman Pumper, registered environmental health specialist, or professional engineer who performed the pumping.

010.03 When domestic septage is disposed of by land application, the following information shall be recorded for each land application site:

010.03A Location and legal description of application site.

010.03B Name and address of application site owner and the landowner’s written permission to use the site for the land application of domestic septage.

010.03C Acreage of site to which domestic septage was applied.

010.03D Type of crop or vegetation, expected yield, and annual nitrogen requirement.

010.03E Maximum rate of septage application based on nitrogen requirement (gallons per year).

010.03F Harvesting or grazing schedule for site.

010.03G Certification statement that pathogen reduction and vector attraction reduction requirements have been complied with.

010.03H For each load of septage applied to the site, the following shall be recorded:

010.03H.1 Date of application.

010.03H.2 Gallons of septage applied.

010.03H.3 Total gallons of septage applied year-to-date at site.

010.03H.4 Sources (owner name and address of each tank pumped).

010.03H.5 Gallons pumped from each source.

010.03H.6 Method of application (surface application, surface application plowed in within six hours, or direct subsurface injection).

010.03H.7 Method of treatment (none, pH adjustment).

010.03H.8 If treated by pH adjustment, pounds of hydrated lime used.

010.03H.9 Name, certificate or license number, and signature of the Master Pumper, Journeyman Pumper, registered environmental health specialist, or professional engineer who applied the septage.


Enabling Legislation: Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-1505; 81-15,251.

Legal Citation: Title 124, Ch. 23, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.