NEBRASKA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Title 124 - Rules and Regulations for the Design, Operation and Maintenance of On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems
Chapter 1 - Definitions

001 "Advisory Committee" means the Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Advisory Committee.

002 “Authorized representative” means:

002.01 In the case of a corporation, a principal executive officer in charge of a principal business function and of at least the level of vice president;

002.02 In the case of a limited liability company, a manager, or a person as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 21-2606 (1)(g), or a principal executive officer;

002.03 In the case of a partnership, a general partner;

002.04 In the case of a sole proprietorship, the proprietor; or

002.05 In the case of a municipal, state or other public entity, a principal executive officer or ranking elected official.

003 "Baffle" means a partition installed in a septic tank for proper operation of the tank and to provide maximum retention of solids, and includes sanitary tees.

004 "Bed or seepage bed" means an excavated or below-grade soil absorption system containing filter material and an effluent distribution system where the filter material is wider than 36 inches where pipes are used for distribution or wider than five feet where chambers are used for distribution. The maximum width of a bed is limited to 20 feet.

005 "Bedrock" means solid rock exposed at the surface of the earth or overlain by unconsolidated material.

006 "Bedroom" means any room within a dwelling that might reasonably be used as a sleeping room.

007 "Bentonite" means high swelling clay derived from a chemically altered volcanic ash.

008 "Blackwater" means wastes carried off by toilets, urinals, and kitchen drains. Blackwater is wastewater for the purposes of these regulations.

009 "Building drain" means that portion of the lowest horizontal piping of a drainage system which receives the wastewater discharge from within the walls of the building and conveys it to the building sewer beginning 30 inches outside the building footings.

010 "Building sewer" means that part of the drainage system extending from the end of the building drain to a treatment system or other approved point of disposal.

011 "Certified Professional" means a private onsite wastewater treatment system professional certified under the Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Contractors Certification and System Registration Act to perform the tasks for which the certification has been issued.

012 "Cesspool" means an underground pit into which raw household wastewater has or can discharge and from which the liquid has or can seep into the surrounding soil. A cesspool is a failed or prohibited system for the purposes of these regulations.

013 "Chamber or chambers" means a pre-formed manufactured conduit with an open-bottom configuration used to distribute effluent in a soil absorption system.

014 "Closure or close" means the proper cleanup and decommissioning of an onsite wastewater treatment system after its use has been discontinued.

015 "Community water supply system" means a public water supply system that (a) serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents of the area served by the system or (b) regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.

016 "Construction" means the installation of an onsite wastewater treatment system or the replacement, reconstruction, alteration, modification, expansion, or closure of an existing system including the installation of required wastewater lagoon fencing. Construction includes excavation or similar activity related to the installation, replacement, reconstruction, alteration, modification, or expansion of an onsite system, or closure of an onsite system. For the purposes of subdivision review and approval, “construction” means physical activity on a development area including the building of roads, cut and fill, grading, installation of utilities, construction of any foundations, buildings or structures for the development, and construction work on drainage, piping, trenching, lighting, foundations, or other site activities. Construction does not include siting, soil percolation testing, or soil boring.

017 "Department" means the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

018 "Depth marker" means a device used to measure the liquid level present in a septic tank, wastewater lagoon, or other onsite wastewater treatment system.

019 "Design flow" means the maximum volume of wastewater estimated to be generated by a dwelling or non-dwelling facility in a twenty-four-hour period. It includes both a typical operating capacity and a surge capacity for the system during periodic heavy use events. The sizing and design of the onsite wastewater treatment system components are based on the design flow.

020 "Development Area" means an area of land in the State of Nebraska subdivided into lots where onsite wastewater treatment systems will be used. Such subdivision shall include the dividing of an area of land into smaller areas to be sold, transferred, leased, rented, or allowed to be used for the purpose of constructing or locating a dwelling or non-dwelling facility that generates wastewater.

021 "Direct supervision" means the person overseeing the work of others is physically present on the site where the work is being done and has control over, responsibility for, and professional knowledge of the work being done.

022 "Director" means the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

023 "Distribution box" means a watertight box that receives effluent from a wastewater treatment component and distributes the flow by gravity to each individual section of a soil absorption system at a rate proportional to the bottom surface area of that section.

024 "Distribution system, distribution piping, or distribution line" means piping or other devices which distribute effluent within a soil absorption system either by gravity (gravity distribution system) or pressure (pressure distribution system).

025 "Domestic septage or septage" means the liquid or solid material removed from a septic tank, holding tank, cesspool, portable toilet, Type III marine sanitation device, or similar treatment works that receives only domestic wastewater. Domestic septage does not include liquid or solid material removed from a septic tank, holding tank, cesspool, portable toilet, or similar treatment works that receives either commercial wastewater or industrial wastewater and does not include grease removed from a grease trap at a restaurant. Domestic septage does not include 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.

026 "Domestic waste or domestic wastewater" means human body waste and household type wastes including bath and toilet wastes, household laundry wastes, household kitchen wastes, and other similar wastes from a dwelling or a non-dwelling facility. Domestic waste or wastewater does not include drainage from roofs; footing or foundation drains; process waste from any industrial, agricultural, or commercial establishment; automotive or industrial chemicals or petroleum products; kitchen waste or wastewater from a restaurant or food preparation facility; water carrying animal waste or commercial process water or wastewater; or similar waste.

027 "Dose or dosing" means the use of a pump or siphon device to convey intermittent discharges of effluent by gravity or pressure distribution to a soil absorption system. Dosing is characterized by brief periods of high flow followed by long periods of no flow.

028 "Dosing chamber or dosing tank" means a watertight receptacle containing a pump or siphon device and that retains effluent until it is intermittently pumped or siphoned to the distribution system or soil absorption system.

029 "Drop box" means a watertight box that receives the discharge of effluent from a septic tank and provides serial or sequential distribution of effluent by gravity to each soil absorption system trench where such trenches are installed at progressively lower elevations.

030 "Dry well" means an excavation or structure (other than a soil absorption system meeting these regulations) constructed above the water table that has or can receive waste or wastewater, and from which the waste or wastewater has or can seep or discharge into the surrounding soil. A dry well is a failed or prohibited system for the purposes of these regulations.

031 "Dwelling" means a building, structure, or place used or intended to be used for human occupancy as a single family or multi-family residence and which generates domestic wastewater. If any portion of the wastewater generated at such a building, structure or place is a non-domestic wastewater, the facility shall be considered a non-dwelling facility.

032 "Effluent" means the liquid flowing out of a septic tank or other treatment component of an onsite wastewater treatment system.

033 "Encroachment" means an intrusion on a required setback distance.

034 "Endorsement" means a qualification added to a certificate that authorizes the certificate holder to perform special procedures that require advanced levels of skills or training.

035 "Failed or Failing" means an unauthorized discharge of effluent or wastewater: on the surface of the ground; or to a cesspool, seepage pit, dry well, or leaching pit; or to a soil absorption system with less than four feet to groundwater or other limiting soil characteristics; or which threatens to cause pollution of any air, water, or land of the State; or which threatens public health.

036 "Fill" means soil, rock, gravel, or waste material which has been placed over the original soil or bedrock and is characterized by a lack of distinct horizons or color patterns as found in naturally developed, undisturbed soils.

037 "Filter material or filter media or treatment media" means washed-gravel, rock, crushed stone, slag, clean gravel, or tire chips, any of which that range in size from one-quarter inch to 2½ inches. The filter media shall be free of clay, silt, rubber crumbs, and other fine material. Tire chips shall be 95 percent free of metal. Flat slabs of tire are not acceptable for use as tire chips. Crushed stone shall be durable and non-calcareous.

038 "Freeboard" means the vertical distance between the design full liquid level and the level at which liquid will overflow from a lagoon.

039 "Gravelless distribution system" means a distribution pipe, chamber, or other conduit designed for use in a soil absorption system without filter material.

040 “Gravity Distribution or Gravity Dosing” means to intermittently discharge effluent using the force of gravity to distribute effluent to a soil absorption system.

041 "Graywater" means all domestic waste excluding blackwater and including bath, lavatory, laundry, and sink waste except kitchen sink waste. Graywater is wastewater for the purposes of these regulations.

042 "Grease trap or grease trap tank or grease interceptor" means a watertight tank designed for the collection and retention of fats, oils, and grease, and which is accessible for periodic removal of the contents.

043 "Groundwater" means water occurring beneath the surface of the ground that fills available openings in rock or soil materials such that they may be considered saturated.

044 "Holding tank" means a tank for the storage of wastewater until it can be transported to a point for proper disposal.

045 "Industrial waste" means wastewater not otherwise defined as domestic wastewater, including the runoff and leachate from areas that receive pollutants associated with industrial or commercial storage, handling, or processing.

046 "Influent" means wastewater flowing into an on-site wastewater treatment system component or device.

047 "Inspecting" means the practice of examining the components of an onsite wastewater treatment system, the operational condition of the system, or the site conditions for the purpose of providing verification of compliance with this Title. These practices are not considered inspecting when performed by a Master or Journeyman Pumper for the purpose of pumping an onsite wastewater treatment system or when performed by a Master or Journeyman Installer for the installation, modification, alteration, or repair of an onsite wastewater treatment system or for an evaluation conducted for those purposes.

048 "Inspector" means a certified professional holding a certificate by examination, or a hardship certificate issued by the Department in the category of Inspector.

049 "Journeyman Installer" means a certified professional holding a certificate by examination or a hardship certificate issued by the Department in the category of Journeyman Installer.

050 "Journeyman Pumper" means a certified professional holding a certificate by examination or a hardship certificate issued by the Department in the category of Journeyman Pumper.

051 "Layout" means the practice of determining wastewater design flows and loadings, selecting system type, sizing and selecting system components, or locating system components for the purpose of construction, reconstruction, alteration or modification of an onsite wastewater system.

052 "Leaching pit" means an underground pit into which waste or wastewater has or can discharge and from which the liquid has or can seep into the surrounding soil with little or no treatment. A leaching pit is a failed or prohibited system for the purposes of these regulations.

053 "Liner" means the material or substance used to line the bottom of a wastewater lagoon, sand filter, wetlands cell, or other onsite wastewater treatment system so that percolation of liquids through the soil is controlled.

054 “Loamy sand” means a soil material containing 70 to 85 percent sand, up to 30 percent silt, and up to 15 percent clay.

055 "Master Installer" means a certified professional holding a certificate by examination or a hardship certificate issued by the Department in the category of Master Installer.

056 "Master Pumper" means a certified professional holding a certificate by examination or a hardship certificate issued by the Department in the category of Master Pumper.

057 "Mound system" means an onsite wastewater treatment system that includes a septic tank for primary treatment, an effluent pumping system, and a soil absorption system that includes a pressurized effluent distribution system within a prescribed layer of rock or acceptable treatment media that is elevated above the original ground surface by a layer of clean sand. The distribution system is pressure dosed to provide uniform distribution of effluent over the entire layer of treatment media, and treatment media is capped by a protective layer of geotextile fabric (to prevent fine material intrusion from the soil), soil, and grass.

058 “Native soil” means soil that is naturally occurring, formed by normal geologic and biological processes, which is characterized by the distinct soil horizons or color patterns found in naturally developed, undisturbed soil.

059 "Non-community water supply system" means any public water supply system that is not a community water system.

059 “Non-dwelling facility” means a building, structure, place of business, place of gathering, or waste collection system which is not a dwelling and which generates wastewater.

061 "Onsite wastewater treatment system" means any system of piping, treatment devices, or other appurtenances that convey, store, treat, or dispose of domestic or non-domestic wastewater, but not including wastewater from a livestock waste control facility, on the property where it originates, or on nearby property under the control of the user, which system is not connected to a public sewer system. An onsite wastewater treatment system begins at the end of the building drain. A system using a lagoon is limited to a maximum design flow of 1,000 gallons per day to be considered an onsite wastewater treatment system. The word "onsite" used in this Title is equivalent to the word "on-site".

062 "Percolation rate" means the rate, usually expressed in minutes per inch or mpi, which is obtained from soil percolation tests conducted to help determine the amount of soil absorption area required for a soil absorption system.

063 "Percolation test" means the determination of the suitability of an area for subsurface wastewater effluent disposal by a standardized test of the rate at which the undisturbed soil in an excavated pit or hole of standard size will absorb liquid per unit of surface area.

064 "Plastic limit" means the water content where soil transitions between brittle and plastic behavior characterized by the point at which a thread of soil begins to crumble when rolled between hands to a diameter of one-eighth inch.

065 "Pollution" means the man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, or radiological integrity of water of the State.

066 "Private well" means a well which provides water supply to less than 15 service connections and regularly serves less than 25 individuals.

067 “Pressure distribution or pressure dosing” means the use of a pump to intermittently discharge effluent under positive pressure through a network of piping designed to evenly distribute the effluent throughout a soil absorption system.

068 "Professional Engineer or P.E." means a person who is licensed as a professional engineer by the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects.

069 “Professional development hour or PDH” means at least 60 minutes spent in Department approved educational activity.

070 "Public water supply system" means a water supply system for providing the public with water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances, if such system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves an average of at least 25 individuals daily at least 60 days per year. This definition shall include:

070.01 Any collection, treatment, storage, and distribution facilities under control of the operator of such system and used primarily in connection with such system, and

070.02 Any collection or pretreatment storage facilities not under such control, which are used primarily in connection with such system.

071 “Pump tank” means a watertight container with a capacity over 50 gallons which houses a pump or pump unit and associated appurtenances used to convey effluent or sewage. The capacity of a pump tank is measured at the normal high (pump start) operating level. The capacity of a tank housing a pump or used as a pump tank is not considered part of the treatment volume required for a septic tank for the purposes of these regulations.

072 “Pump chamber or pump basin” means a watertight container with a capacity of 50 gallons or less and which houses a float or liquid level activated pump and associated appurtenances used to convey sewage or effluent. The capacity of a pump chamber is measured at the normal high (pump start) operating level. The capacity of a chamber housing a pump or used as a pump basin is not considered part of the treatment volume required for a septic tank and is not subject to tank setbacks for the purposes of these regulations.

073 "Pumping" means the practice of maintaining septic tanks, grease trap tanks, holding tanks, and any other components of onsite wastewater systems through the removal, transportation, and disposal of accumulated liquid and solid wastes.

074 "Registered Environmental Health Specialist or REHS" means a person who has the educational requirements and has had experience in the field of environmental sanitation required by Nebraska Revised Statutes §71-3703 and is registered with the Nebraska Board of Registration for Environmental Health Specialists in accordance with Nebraska Revised Statutes §71-3702 through §71-3715.

075 "Repair" means the correction of a mechanical, electrical, or minor structural defect in an existing onsite wastewater system component such as, but not limited to, sealing a crack in a tank lid, repairing or replacing a tank baffle or access manhole riser, repairing or replacing a pump or electrical switch, leveling a distribution box, replacing a building sewer pipe, or replacing a cracked pipe between the septic tank and soil absorption system. Repair does not include replacement, reconstruction or modification of a tank or soil absorption system; extension or enlargement of a soil absorption component and system; replacement of a distribution pipe; or repair or replacement of a metal or concrete block tank.

076 "Sand" means a soil material composed by weight of at least 90 percent of soil particles ranging in size between 0.05 and 2.0 mm or 0.002 inches and 0.08 inches.

077 "Sandy soil" means the soil having the following textures: sands, fine sands, loamy fine sands, and loamy very fine sands.

078 "Seepage pit" means an excavation or structure constructed below or partially below the water table into which waste or wastewater has or can discharge and from which the waste or wastewater has or can seep into the surrounding saturated soil. A seepage pit is a failed or prohibited system for the purposes of these regulations.

079 "Septic system" means an onsite wastewater treatment system that has a septic tank for primary treatment and a trench or bed soil absorption system for secondary treatment of wastewater.

080 "Septic tank" means a watertight covered receptacle designed and constructed to receive wastewater from a building sewer, attenuate flows, store digested solids through a period of detention to allow settleable and floating solids to separate from liquids, allow digestion of organic matter by anaerobic bacteria, and allow the clarified liquid to discharge for additional treatment and final dispersal to a soil absorption system.

081 "Sewage" means any water carrying domestic waste exclusive of footing and roof drainage, from any industrial, agricultural, or commercial establishment or any dwelling or any other structures. Domestic waste includes but is not limited to liquid waste produced by bathing, laundry, cooking operations, and liquid waste from toilets and floor drains and specifically excludes animal waste and commercial process water.

082 "Site" means the area bounded by the dimensions required for the proper location of the soil absorption system.

083 "Siting" means the practice of the investigation, examination, and reporting of design-controlling physical characteristics of an area at which an onsite wastewater system is to be constructed, reconstructed, altered, or modified; including, but not limited to topography, drainage, landscape position, soil evaluation, location and type of wells, water lines, property lines, foundations, and surface water features.

084 "Slope" means the ratio of vertical rise or fall to horizontal distance.

085 "Sludge" means the accumulated settled solids deposited from wastewater and containing water to form a semi-liquid mass.

086 "Soil absorption system" means a drainfield, leaching area, or seepage bed, including the effluent application or distribution system used for the soil based dispersal and treatment of wastewater or effluent. The soil absorption system includes the infiltrative soil surface in the absorption trench, the undisturbed soil between and around the trenches, and a final cover of suitable soil to stabilize the completed installation, support vegetative growth and shed runoff. The soil absorption system is the part of the onsite wastewater treatment system that uses the soil to further treat and dispose of effluent from the onsite wastewater treatment system in a manner that does not result in a point source discharge and does not create a nuisance, health hazard, or ground or surface water pollution.

087 "Soil Evaluation" means the practice of the investigation, examination, testing, and reporting of design-controlling characteristics of the soil and subsurface features at an area at which an onsite wastewater soil absorption system is to be constructed, reconstructed, altered, or modified; including, but not limited to soil type, structure, permeability, absorption capacity, and percolation rate, and the depth to seasonal high groundwater, bedrock, or other subsurface barrier layers.

088 "Soil Evaluator" means a certified professional holding a certificate by examination or a hardship certificate issued by the Department in the category of Soil Evaluator.

089 "Subdivision" means the division of a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, sites, or other divisions of land for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of ownership or building development, except that the division of land shall not be considered to be a subdivision when the smallest parcel created is more than 10 acres in area. For the purposes of this regulation, the term “subdivision” includes the dividing of an area of land into smaller areas to be sold, transferred, leased, rented, or allowed to be used for the purpose of constructing or locating a dwelling or non-dwelling facility that generates wastewater.

090 "Surface waters" means all waters within the jurisdiction of this state, including all streams, lakes, ponds, impounding reservoirs, marshes, wetlands, watercourses, waterways, springs, canal systems, drainage systems, and all other bodies or accumulations of water, natural or artificial, public or private, situated wholly or partly within or bordering upon the state. Impounded waters in this definition do not include areas designated by the Department as wastewater treatment or wastewater retention facilities or irrigation reuse pits.

091 "Tank" means a watertight structure or container used to hold wastewater for such purposes as aeration, dilution, disinfection, equalization, mixing, sedimentation, storage, collection for transport, treatment, or addition of chemicals.

092 "Trench or absorption trench” means an excavation containing filter material and an effluent distribution system used for the distribution of effluent in a soil absorption system.

093 "Wastewater" means liquid and water borne wastes from a dwelling or non-dwelling facility. Wastewater includes both blackwater and graywater.

094 "Wastewater lagoon" means a shallow body of water where organic wastes are decomposed by bacteria in the presence of free oxygen.

095 "Wastewater works" means facilities for collecting, transporting, pumping and treating wastewater and the disposal of treated effluent and sludge.

096 "Waters of the state" means all waters within the jurisdiction of this state, including all streams, lakes, ponds, impounding reservoirs, marshes, wetlands, water courses, waterways, wells, springs, irrigation systems, drainage systems and all other bodies or accumulations of water, surface or underground, natural or artificial, public or private, situated wholly or partly within or bordering upon the state.


Legal Citation: Title 124, Ch. 1, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.