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Local Area Management Plan (LAMP)

For Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (Septic Systems)

The Draft Local Area Management Program (LAMP) has been prepared to guide the permitting and oversight of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS, also known as septic systems). This LAMP is produced in accordance with requirements set forth by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) in the State OWTS Policy (2013) for County permitting of OWTS.

The purpose of the LAMP is to provide for the continued use of OWTS in Santa Cruz County while providing protection of water quality and public health. Due to historical development patterns, local climate, geology and soils, a majority of the 27,700 existing OWTS could not meet the State Tier 1 Standards for Low Risk systems. However, with appropriate standards and management approaches, systems can be upgraded and utilized to continue to meet housing needs, recharge groundwater basins, and protect water quality. The LAMP is an expansion, refinement, and update of successful wastewater management approaches conducted by Santa Cruz County since 1985.

The Draft LAMP is currently being circulated for public review and comment, in concurrence with review by staff of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board). Comments or questions should be directed to John Ricker 

Once review is completed, the final LAMP will be prepared and submitted for approval to the County Board of Supervisors and the Regional Board. Implementation of the LAMP will commence upon Regional Board approval.

Prior to LAMP approval, the County is only authorized to approve systems that meet State Tier 1 standards from the OWTS Policy. Systems that cannot meet Tier 1 will be submitted to Regional Board staff for approval.

Draft LAMP (11/26/19)


A. Santa Cruz County Code Chapter 7.38, Sewage Disposal, with proposed updates

B. Santa Cruz County Code Chapter 7.42, Septic Tank Pumping and Liquid Waste Transport

C. Regulations for The Repair and Upgrade of Septic Systems 

D. Enhanced Treatment System Regulations

E. Chamber leaching guidelines

F. Soil Evaluation and testing procedures

G. Winter Water Table Testing Procedures

H. State OWTS Policy

I. LAMP Checklist

Regional Board Onsite Web page