Provides required engineering review and construction inspection of proposed land development. Assures compliance with codes for water supplies and sewage disposal. Reviews all permit requests to construct wells for drinking water sources. Assists in siting of wells to maximize yields without drawing down existing known supply sources. The Land Development Programs include issuing permits for the following programs: new housing starts, realty subdivisions, commercial buildings, well permits for new homes, well re-drills on existing homes, sewage system repair permits and additions to houses.
Frequently Asked Questions
on Sewage System Repairs and Additions
- Do I need Health Department approval to renovate or put an addition on my house?
Any renovation which involves a modification of an existing floor plan or any additions which increase the square footage of living area require approval by the Putnam County Health Department prior to the issuance of a building permit.
- Why is Health Department approval required to renovate an existing residence?
Part of all Health Department approvals for Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) is the calculation of the potential occupancy of the residence. This is determined by the number of potential bedrooms within the structure. Floor plans for renovations or additions must be reviewed to ensure the total number of potential bedrooms are the same as the original certificate of occupancy.
- What if I need to increase the number of bedrooms?
If the number of potential bedrooms will increase, the Subsurface Sewage Treatment System must be designed by a professional engineer or registered architect, meeting all present code requirements. The plans must be reviewed and approved prior to the issuance of a building a permit.
- What does the Health Department consider a “potential bedroom”?
Any room which could potentially be used as a bedroom may be considered a bedroom by the Department. For example, an office, den, computer room, exercise room and possibly a family room may be considered potential bedrooms. The location of the proposed room is a major factor in this consideration. For example, an office on a second story with other bedrooms will always be considered a potential bedroom. An office off the kitchen or living room away from the sleeping area of the residence may not be considered to be a potential bedroom.
- Do I need to hire an architect to design the floor plan prior to applying to the Health Department?
No. The Department will review non-professional sketches of the proposed floor plans.
- Is there a fee for this process?
Yes. The fee for Health Department review is $100.
- Will a finished room in the basement area be considered a potential bedroom?
In some cases, yes. If there is a full bath in the basement area, any room located in this area may be considered a potential bedroom. Traditionally, open recreational rooms in basement areas are not considered potential bedrooms.
- I would like to add an accessory apartment to my existing single-family residence. Will I need to have my septic system enlarged if I convert one of the existing bedrooms to another use and add this bedroom to the apartment?
In most cases, you will be required to hire a professional engineer to design a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS). The addition of an accessory apartment is considered to be a “change in use”, as well as an increase in potential occupancy. The addition of a second kitchen and possibly an additional washing machine may increase the potential flow to the existing septic system.
- Is there an application process, and how long does it take?
Applications are available at the Putnam County Health Department, 4 Geneva Road, Brewster, New York 10509. Call (845) 278-6130. You may also pick up an application at the individual Town Building Departments. Generally, review can be completed in less than one week.
Frequently Asked Questions on New Construction
- How do I get my lot approved?
Hire a New York State licensed Professional Engineer. They can be found in the yellow pages under
- Engineers, Professional
- Engineers, Consulting
- Engineers, Civil
- Engineers, Sanitary
Registered Architects and Land Surveyors with an “N” exemption may also design septic systems. Your engineer will complete a design for your septic system and well location onto a blueprint. The design will be based on the size of your house (number of bedrooms), the topography of the land, the neighboring wells and septic systems, and the type of soil on the lot (including depth to rock or groundwater).
- How long does it take?
This depends on the complexity of the project and may take months. However, initial review of the submitted plans is undertaken within two to four weeks.
- How much does it cost?
Your design professional, survey, testing and construction will also cost money.
- How long does approval last?
Putnam County Health Department approved construction permits are valid for two (2) years from the date of issuance and can be renewed via a construction permit renewal application. Subdivision approvals are valid for five (5) years from the date of approval and can also be renewed.
- What makes an approval invalid?
Natural and manmade problems can invalidate a map. For example, removing (mining) the soil from the proposed septic area invalidates the map since the soils which the approval was based upon are no longer there. Changes in drainage can cause a lot to be wetter now than when the approval was granted, thereby resulting in ground and surface water conditions possibly not being met. Mistakes were made while drafting the plans. Misrepresentation and/or errors on a map invalidate the approval. Check to see that the map has been legally filed with the County Clerk’s Office. Even though a map may be signed by the Putnam County Department of Health, it is not valid until it is filed.
- What standards and/or policies are used for the design of Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) and water wells?
The County Health Department utilizes the standards contained in 10 NYCRR Part 75, including Appendices 75-A and 75-B for the design of individual wastewater treatment systems and individual drilled wells. The Health Department has also developed policy and procedure documents for individual single-family residences (Bulletin S-19), realty subdivision (Bulletin RS-21) and commercial development (Bulletin CS-31) projects.
- If my property is located within the New York City Watershed, what role will the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) have in the review of my project?
Under the “Delegation Agreement between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Putnam County Health Department”, all applications for SSTS will be forwarded to the Health Department. The Health Department will determine if the proposed project is delegated to the County or is a “joint” review between the County and the DEP, as defined in the Agreement. The applicant’s engineer will only have to deal with one agency, the Health Department, during the review process, and only one approval will be issued by the Health Department on behalf of both agencies.