Since their introduction in the 1880s, septic tanks have become the most widely used method of on-site sewage disposal. According to the 1990 census, Texas contains just over 1.2 million septic systems. In 1989, Texas implemented statewide regulation for all On-Site Sewage Facility (OSSF) systems. The proper design, construction, inspection, and operation of on-site sewage systems protects public health and the environment.

Treatment and Disposal

An On-Site Sewage Facility (OSSF) is a wastewater system that treats and disposes of sewage produced on the site location and has a daily usage of less than 5000 gallons. An OSSF is comprised of two components: the treatment and the disposal. These two components may be set up in a variety of different scenarios including, but not limited to, a septic tank with lateral lines for subsurface treatment, an aerobic treatment unit with surface spray application of treated and disinfected wastewater, or several other methods of waste water disposal. A properly functioning OSSF should drain the plumbing (your toilets flush correctly), have no pooling or ponding, have no odor, and should provide nearly 100% wastewater treatment.

Regulation Enforcement

So who is in charge of regulation? That would be the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Town of Bartonville. On-site sewage facility law in Texas is structured as such that local governments will enforce the laws and regulations with approval and oversight by the TCEQ. The current laws were adopted in 1997 and were revised in 2003. These are the laws and regulations we follow today; however, local jurisdictions may adopt more stringent rules if they are included in the local order, ordinance, or resolution and approved by the TCEQ. Bartonville's current OSSF regulations (PDF) were adopted in 2006.


  • Provide education and awareness for homeowners and potential home buyers concerning On-Site Sewage Facilities and the maintenance and operations.
  • Describe and illustrate the different types of On-Site Sewage Facilities
  • Educate and inform concerning the laws governing On-Site Sewage Facilities; explain the various regulatory agencies involved
  • Provide information concerning maintenance practices, operational tips, OSSF related links, FAQs, and complaint response / resolution
  • Provide a list of approved, registered Maintenance Providers