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Options for Installing or Upgrading a Septic System

Alaska regulations restrict who may install onsite wastewater systems anywhere in the State of Alaska to:

Important note: The Municipality of Anchorage and the the City of Valdez have additional requirements, please contact those offices if you are constructing in one of these areas.

Option 1 - Hire a registered Professional Engineer:

A Professional Engineer who is registered in the State of Alaska may oversee the construction of a septic system by either a contractor or a homeowner. The engineer will evaluate the soils, perform a percolation test if necessary, and design the septic system. The contractor or homeowner will construct the system, while the engineer is responsible for inspections and the completion of the required Documentation of Construction paperwork. An engineer is also required for any system serving multiple buildings, commercial buildings with wastewater flows over 500 gallons per day, non-domestic wastewater flows and conditions that do not allow installation of conventional wastewater system. An engineer is also required if minimum requirements or separation distances cannot be met.

Option 2 - Hire a Certified Installer:

Certified Installers (PDF) are contractors who have completed training which allows them to install conventional septic systems without the oversight of an engineer. However, if the soils on your parcel require a percolation test, the certified installer must hire an engineer to perform this test prior to installing a system.

Option 3 - Participate in the Approved Homeowner program:

In order to participate in the DEC's Approved Homeowner program you must follow the instructions below:

  • View DEC’s Interactive Training CD on installing septic systems and pass the test provided on the CD.
  • Send a copy of the Confirmation Letter of Completion and the current fee to the DEC will allow you to become certified as a homeowner to install one septic system on your own owner-occupied private residence within one year of the date of certification.
  • Evaluate Soils: You must hire a Professional Engineer to evaluate the soils in the area within 25 feet of the proposed septic system before starting the design and excavation of the system. This evaluation may be done by having an engineer rate the soils on site or by collecting a soil sample from the soil strata in which the absorption field will be installed and having a mechanical analysis performed on the collected sample by a registered engineer or soils laboratory. This information is used to properly size the absorption area and must be submitted with the Documentation of Construction form.
  • Photographs of the installation and a Documentation of Construction form must be completed by the homeowner and submitted to the DEC within 90 days of construction to verify compliance with regulations.

Please follow the instructions below for the downloadable version of DEC 's interactive training course:

  1. Download the Interactive Training CD (ZIP 138 MB)
  2. The download manager will ask "What do you want to do with". Select "Open". Depending on your download speed, this may take a few minutes.
  3. When file has finished downloading, a window will open showing the file. Open the file.
  4. Open adec-septic.exe
  5. Select the "Extract all" option; choose a destination for extracted files or leave the default location.
  6. When the file has been extracted, a window will open showing the ADEC_Septic file. Open the file.
  7. Open ADEC_Septic.exe. The executable file now has a red icon with white arrow.
  8. Select "run" to being the interactive training course.
  9. Follow the instructions to complete the course and the test questions.
  10. At the end of the course, when you have answered all of the questions correctly, you will be able to pring the application for the Approved Homeowners Program.
  11. Please fill this form out and mail or bring in your application and payment to your local DEC office.
  12. If you are not able to download a copy of the Interactive Training CD and would like one mailed to you, or if you require further information, contact your local DEC office or Ryan Peterson at DEC/Soldotna Area Office. Ryan may be contacted at 907-262-3402, or by email at:

Note: The Mat-Su DEC office strongly recommends that homeowner-installers hire a Professional Engineer to oversee the design and construction of their septic system (see option 1). If an engineer provides oversight of the design and installation, the homeowner-installer fee and the test are not required.

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