Apply for a Permit

If you’re seeking wastewater (septic) permit, it's important to follow the proper application process.  There are various types of wastewater permits depending on your project.

Wake County issues wastewater permits in the unincorporated areas of Wake County, meaning areas outside of city or town limits. Not sure if you’re property is in our jurisdiction, go to iMaps, enter the address and on the right side under GENERAL it will list your jurisdiction as “WC” for Wake County.

Start by contacting those town planning departments first for order of operations. Knightdale, Rolesville, Wendell and Zebulon also use the PERMIT PORTAL for Building Permits.

Planning Departments:


For those residing within Wake County’s jurisdiction, the application process begins by applying for a wastewater permit and either a building permit or a planning and zoning permit through the Permit Portal.

When you go the permit portal – hit the Apply button at the top blue navigation bar and in the PERMITS Column scroll to the bottom and select ALL 66. Search for wastewater or septic and you’ll see the various types of septic permits. Also check out How to Apply for a Wastewater Permit page for detailed guidance.

Wastewater Permit Application Process Updates

Customers seeking a wastewater permit can now submit a building permit application prior to defining the final building footprint by incorporating a Building Envelope on the preliminary site plan associated with the building permit application. Builders are encouraged to identify a Building Envelope large enough to cover multiple potential building plans (including deck, stairs, etc.). To learn more about the updated wastewater permit process and permit options available to customers, please see the links below:

New and/or Existing Septic Evaluation on Unrecorded Lots

Environmental Services Department reviews the creation of three lots or fewer or the adjustment of property lines to assess the existing septic system and determine if the proposed lots are suitable for development.

If you submit an application for an unregistered lot that already has a building and septic system on the same land, Environmental Services will check to make sure there is enough space for the existing structure, the septic system and any necessary repairs.

If you are planning a residential project that involves constructing a new wastewater system, reconnecting to an existing system, making modifications to an existing system or updating an existing wastewater permit, you should apply for a Permit for Residential Wastewater (Septic).

The requirement for a wastewater review depends on the regulations of the planning jurisdiction where the property is located.

For more information, please visit the Wake County Planning  website.

Septic Tank Abandonment

Follow the below steps to abandon a wastewater system: 

Please follow the steps below to abandon a wastewater system:

1. Apply for a Wastewater Abandonment Permit through the online portal.

2. Hire an approved hauler to pump the liquid, sludge and scum from all the tanks in the system.

3. The tank(s) should be abandoned by a certified septic installer, licensed plumber, licensed public utilities contractor or the property owner.

There are three ways to abandon the tanks:

I - Remove the tanks.

II - Fill in the tank in one of two ways:

  • Fill in the entire tank with concrete after capping off the inlet and outlet pipe penetrations.
  • Cap off the inlet and outlet pipe penetrations with concrete, fill in the tank with sand or pea gravel and then cap off both the inlet and outlet access openings with concrete.

III - Crush the tank in place, break up the bottom to prevent water ponding and fill the area with sand or pea gravel. Pack material to ensure that the settling is complete.

4. Backfill the excavation with clean clay material to the natural grade and establish vegetative cover.

5. Disconnect power at the source for all electrical controls and remove all controls and panels.

6. Remove all parts of the drainfield on the ground surface (such as valves, valve boxes and risers), backfill the area to the natural grade and establish vegetative cover.

7. Apply hydrated lime to all surface areas exposed to effluent and establish vegetative cover.