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How to Become a Texas On-Site Sewage Facility (Septic System) Authorized Agent

What an OSSF authorized agent is, how a local government agency can become one, and how authorized agents amend an existing approved order, ordinance, or resolution.

To become an authorized agent, a local governmental entity must have an order, ordinance, or resolution approved by the TCEQ.

How does a local governmental entity become an authorized agent?

To become an authorized agent, a local governmental entity must follow the requirements specified in 30 TAC §285.10 Exit the TCEQ. It is recommended the local governmental entity work with their designated representative when preparing or amending an order or ordinance. Below is a synopsis of the process:

  1. Request a description of the delegation process and a copy of the model order, ordinance, or resolution.
  2. Draft an order, ordinance, or resolution that meets the requirements of Title 30 Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC), Chapter 285 and Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366, §366.032 using the model order, ordinance, or resolution format.
  3. If proposing more stringent standards than 30 TAC, Chapter 285, the draft order, ordinance, or resolution must be submitted to the TCEQ with a written justification demonstrating how each more stringent requirement will provide greater protection to the public health and safety for review, comment, and approval before publishing the notice for a public meeting.
  4. Publish notice of a public meeting at least 72 hours, but not more than 30 days. The notice must appear in a regularly published newspaper of general circulation in the area of jurisdiction.
  5. After the public meeting is held, submit a copy of the following items:
    • public notice as it appeared in the newspaper;
    • publisher's affidavit from the newspaper in which the public notice appeared;
    • certified copy of the minutes of the meeting when the order, ordinance, or resolution was adopted; and
    • certified copy of the order, ordinance, or resolution that was passed by the entity.
  6. Have TCEQ review the materials to ensure the entity has complied with the requirements of 30 TAC, Chapter 285 and the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366. After the review:
    • a commission order approving delegation will be prepared for signature by the executive director, or
    • a letter will be sent to the entity describing how the draft order, ordinance, or resolution does not comply with 30 TAC, Chapter 285 or Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366.
  7. Make necessary changes to the draft order, ordinance, or resolution, if needed and repeat steps 4-6.

The entity's order, ordinance, or resolution will be effective on the date the commission order approving delegation is signed by the executive director.

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Is there a model order or ordinance available in a downloadable format?

Yes.

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What happens when a local governmental entity becomes an authorized agent?

The authorized agent is responsible for the proper implementation of Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366, 30 TAC Chapter 285. The agent also administers the OSSF program according to the OSSF order, ordinance, or resolution approved by the executive director within the agent's area of jurisdiction.

The authorized agent must submit a monthly report ( PDF format or Word format) to the Texas On-site Wastewater Research Council to account for the total number of $10 fees that were collected during the month.

Not more than once a year, the authorized agent will be investigated by the TCEQ to determine the authorized agent's compliance with the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366 and 30 TAC Chapter 285.

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How does an approved order, ordinance, or resolution get amended?

An existing approved order, ordinance, or resolution may be amended at the request of the TCEQ:

  • To ensure the authorized agent's program is consistent with current commission rules; or
  • When the authorized agent feels they need to a address a local issue that will benefit the greater protection of the public health and safety.

The procedures to amend an existing TCEQ approved order, ordinance, or resolution are the same as submitting an initial order, ordinance, or resolution for approval.

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How do authorized agents relinquish their delegation?

When an authorized agent decides to relinquish delegation, the agent will need complete the following steps:

  1. Inform the executive director by certified mail at least 30 days before publishing a notice of intent to relinquish authority.
  2. Publish notice of a public meeting at least 72 hours, but not more than 30 days, before the public meeting is to be held. The notice must appear in a regularly published newspaper of general circulation in the area of jurisdiction.
  3. Hold a public meeting to discuss the intent to relinquish the delegated authority.
  4. Repeal the order, ordinance, or resolution.
  5. After the order, ordinance, or resolution is repealed, submit a copy of the following items:
    • public notice as it appeared in the newspaper;
    • publisher's affidavit from the newspaper in which the public notice was published; and
    • certified copy of the minutes of the meeting when the order, ordinance, or resolution was repealed.
  6. Meet with the executive director to determine the exact date the agent shall surrender delegated authority.

The authorized agent will retain all authority and responsibility for the delegated program until the date agreed upon by the authorized agent and the executive director.

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How does the TCEQ revoke an authorized agent's delegation?

An authorized agent's order, ordinance, or resolution may be revoked at any time by order of the commission for failure to implement, administer, or enforce Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366 or 30 TAC, Chapter 285.

If the executive director determines that cause exists for revocation, the executive director will:

  1. File a petition with the commission according to Exit the TCEQ30 TAC Chapter 70 seeking revocation;
  2. Initiate the hearing process with the State Office of Administrative Hearings according to Exit the TCEQ30 TAC Chapter 80; and
  3. Hold a public hearing to discuss the commission's intent to revoke the delegated authority of the local governmental entity.

After the opportunity for a hearing, the commission may:

  • issue an order revoking the authorized agent's delegation;
  • issue an order requiring the authorized agent to take certain action or actions in order to retain delegation; or
  • take no action.

When an authorized agent's delegation is revoked, the executive director shall assume responsibility for the OSSF program in the former authorized agent's jurisdiction.

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Laws and rules that govern OSSF authorized agent delegation, relinquishment, and revocation.

Exit the TCEQSubchapter C of the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 366 covers the designation of a local governmental entity as an authorized agent.

Exit the TCEQSubchapter B of Title 30, Texas Administrative Code Chapter 285 covers the procedures, in detail, for the designation, amendment, relinquishment, and revocation process for a local governmental entity.

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