FAQ's About Your Septic System

Solebury Township
Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan

Q. What is the Township doing?

The Township is in the process of implementing a Sewage Management Program, beginning with a mailer to properties that have a septic system notifying them of the requirement to have their system pumped every three years. Once notified, the property owner will have one year from that date to have their septic system pumped and after that will be required to have their system pumped on a three year cycle.

Q. How do I know if I have a Septic System?

Some tell-tale signs that you have a septic system are: You use well water The waterline coming into your house does not have a water meter. You do not get billed for any water or sewer service Your neighbors have a septic system

Q. What's involved in a Sewage Management Program?

Solebury’s Sewage Management Program is very concise and straight forward. We simply are asking property owners with septic systems to have the tank pumped on a three year cycle beginning in July of 2014. For the initial pump-out, you have one year from the date that you are notified by the Township to have your system pumped.

Q. My septic system works great and has never had to be pumped, why are you requiring that it be pumped now?

All septic systems, even those that have always functioned correctly, accumulate solids. If the solids rise to a point where they are discharged into the system leach area, possible contamination of your property and the surrounding area may occur, requiring an extensive and costly repair to you. Pumping out on a regular basis will help prevent this from happening. Most pumpers also perform a visual inspection of the septic system which may alert you early of a needed repair saving you from replacing the leach field in the future.

Q. What if I have just had my system pumped?

If you have had your system pumped in the last two years, you may submit a copy of the pump-out receipt to the Township and will not be required to have it pumped again for three years from the date of the last pump-out.

Q. What if I cannot find a copy of the pump-out receipt when I had the system pumped last?

Most pumpers keep a record of the pump-outs they perform and it is likely that they will be able to supply you with a copy of the receipt.

Q. I would like to submit a copy of my pump-out performed before the start of this program, but it was performed by a hauler not on your list. What should I do?

Please submit the receipt and in most cases this will suffice and you will not be required to have your system pumped for another three years. For all future pump-outs, please use a licensed Bucks County Hauler.

Q. Why is it important to use a Bucks County Licensed Hauler?

Bucks County performs an inspection of all vehicles that transport septic through the County. These inspections better ensure the safety and reliability of these vehicles which helps mitigate potential spills and contamination of public waterways.

Q. Where can I find a list of Licensed Bucks County haulers?

Click here for the current list. Solebury will update the list on an annual basis or when notified by Bucks County of changes.

Q. What information is required on the pump-out receipt?

At a minimum, there should be a record of the date the service was performed, by whom, the physical location of the septic tank, gallons pumped, along with results of the visual inspection performed by the pumper. In addition, in a mailing being sent by the Township to all septic owners, we are providing the Bucks County Tax Parcel numbers assigned to their property. It would be helpful if this number is also recorded on the pump-out receipt along with a contact phone number. You can simply hand print your contact phone number and parcel number on the pump-out report before sending it to the Township if your pumper has not already done so.

Q. Can I have the pumper submit the report directly to the Township?

Yes, please make sure that the pumper has the correct address and ask them to record the parcel number on the pump-out report.

Q. Are there any requirements on how the pump-out report is submitted to the Township?

You can scan and email the report to smp@soleburytwp.org, fax the report to 215-297-8402, or mail the report to Sewage Management Program, Solebury Township, P.O. Box 139 Solebury, PA 18963.

Q. What happens if I don’t have my system pumped on time?

Please have your system pumped as soon as possible. The Township will not be able to issue building permits to any property that is not in compliance with the program along with other enforcement measures.

Q. What is a 537 plan?

The 537 plan is one of the requirements of the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537 - 1968) as regulated through Chapters 71, 72, and 73 (1971, amended) of the PA Code that requires municipalities to identify existing problems and to implement sewage facilities planning to correct and prevent problems with all public and private sewage facilities. The County originally prepared the plan in 1970, while the Township revised its portion of the plan in 1975 and updated it in 1992. DEP expects municipalities to update their plans every 5 to 10 years.

Q. What is the life span of an onlot system?

With proper installation, care and maintenance, and upgrades an onlot system could last the life of the house.

Q. What are some symptoms of onlot system problems?

Sluggish drains Sewer odors Spongy soil Lush, green grass Ponding water Pump failure alarms Sewer backups Erratic pumping (all the time or not at all)

Q. What causes these problems?

Poor site location: steep slopes, poor soils or high water table Inadequate design (too small for the current use) Improper construction Overloaded septic tank that allows solids to clog the soil Root invasion Physical damage from driving over the system Flushing of harmful substances

Q. What can I do to take care of my system?

Schedule an inspection and regular pumping of the septic tank - at least every three years. Install water conservation fixtures and appliances (front loading washers especially). Pace the use of washing machines. Repair leaking fixtures. Do not use the system as a trash can (what solid waste goes in just has to get pumped out). Investigate and remedy problems. Follow the "do-not-flush" list of items - trash, grease, medications, paint, thinner, varnishes, motor oil, chemicals, etc. Divert rainwater runoff from the system. This includes removing sump pump discharges. Do not drive across the system. Do not plant trees or shrubs on the system. Replace an older septic tank with the latest standard model including an effluent filter.

Useful Links for More Information:



DEP Sewage and Act 537

www.dep.state.pa.us Keyword "DEP Wastewater"

National Small Flows Clearinghouse


National Onsite Water Recycling Assoc.


EPA: Septic Systems


The Onsite Consortium



Small Flows Quarterly


Pipeline newsletter



Further questions may be directed to:

Solebury Township at 215-297-5656