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Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments: On-Site Sewage Facilities Phase I

A project to reduce pollution from on-site sewage facilities (septic systems) in the Texas Coastal Zone


Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) of the Coastal Management Act requires states and territories with federally approved Coastal Zone Management Programs to develop and implement a coastal nonpoint source (NPS) control program. The program is unique in that it establishes a set of management measures for states to use in addressing polluted runoff.

On-site sewage facilities (OSSFs), such as septic systems, can contribute contaminants to coastal watersheds. Proper operation of these systems is critical to limiting the transport of contaminated wastewater to nearby waterways. These systems must be evaluated at a specified frequency to determine their operational status and limit the risk of contamination from OSSFs.

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Project Description

Texas AgriLife Research will implement activities to reduce overall loading of contaminants from OSSFs in Galveston County and other coastal counties in the coastal zone (Section 6217 jurisdictional areas). Project personnel are identifying areas of chronic OSSF failure and developing a list of targeted sites for removing septage from anaerobic OSSFs. If necessary, malfunctioning OSSFs may be replaced.

Guidance was developed for conducting visual evaluations of anaerobic OSSFs, and the project's staff are teaching local health-department personnel how to conduct visual inspections. As of May, 2013, thirty-three OSSFs had been inspected.

Homeowners are getting free instruction on the proper operation and maintenance of an OSSF.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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