Franklin County's NPDES Storm Water Permit

In 2003, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) issued a Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Permit to the Franklin County Commissioners. OEPA issued the second-generation permit in January 2009 and it extends through 2014. The permit covers the urbanized unincorporated areas (townships) in the county. The purpose of the permit is to remove pollution from storm drains in developed areas that could contaminate our streams and lakes. Examples of storm water pollution include:

Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) is partnering with the Franklin County Commissioners and 17 Townships to meet the requirements of Franklin County's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Permit. These requirements include the abatement of public health nuisances caused by failed or failing HSTS that discharge into storm sewers or ditches regulated under the permit.


File a Complaint

A household sewage treatment system is causing a public health nuisance if it is discharging onto the ground, into a stream, river or lake, or into a storm sewer or ditch. If you see this or smell sewage, report the details to us so staff can investigate and work with property owners to correct the problem.

Complete the online complaint form or call (614) 525-4787. If the property you are complaining about is in the City of Columbus please call 311 or use their Online Service Request Center.

Environmental Crimes Task Force
FCPH can only regulate illicit discharges from failing sewage treatment systems.  If it’s an illicit discharge from paint, grease, fuel oils or other chemicals, individuals need to report the discharge to the Crimes Task Force. , (614) 871-5322 to report a complaint.

About Household Sewage Treatment Systems (HSTS)

Household Sewage Treatment Systems (HSTS) treat household wastes in areas without access to public sewers or where a public sewer system is not feasible. An estimated 25 percent of the U.S. population relies on onsite wastewater systems to treat and dispose of their household waste (USEPA).

Pollution concentrations from failing HSTS discharges could exceed public health nuisance standards.

A number of factors can cause HSTS to fail, including:

The age of the system

Improper design and installation

Inadequate maintenance practices

The age of the system

Identifying and Eliminating Failing HSTS

Public Health Nuisance Investigation, Enforcement and Abatement Process

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Program staff sanitarians are responsible for investigating all sewage nuisance complaints. These complaints come from the FCPH Operation and Maintenance Program, the general public and referrals from partner agencies. When an allegation or complaint is made that an HSTS is causing a public health nuisance as defined in O.R.C. 3718.011 and/or Regulation OAC 3701-29, Public Health has the authority to investigate such claims.

FCPH will continue to investigate all public health nuisance complaints related to failed or failing HSTSs reported by normal channels as they are received.

Funding to Repair or Replace Failing or Failed HSTS

You may qualify for funding assistance to repair or replace your system if you have a household sewage treatment system that has failed, is failing or is in need of repair.

What health risks could be caused by a failing HSTS?

When HSTS fail, untreated sewage is discharged into the environment. Any contact with untreated human waste can pose health risks. Untreated wastewater from a failing HSTS can contaminate your drinking water supply, your neighbor's drinking water supply, and contaminate streams, drainage ditches, rivers and lakes. There is a potential that untreated sewage from failing systems could carry disease-causing organisms.

These health risks are directly tied to your exposure to and ingestion of untreated sewage. The young, the old and persons with ongoing chronic health conditions or immune system problems are at higher risk for getting sick if exposed. If you are in an area where failing HSTS may be located do not ingest the surface water from ditches or streams, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and do not allow kids or pets to play in the water that looks and smells like it is contaminated with sewage. This common sense approach will protect you and your loved ones.