Before applying for a new septic system, it is necessary to have a valid soils testing (On Site Soils Evaluation - OSSE) done.

An OSSE includes soil tests that determine the effectiveness of soil to filter sewage through leach lines, as well as observations of required setbacks, constraints and possibilities for an individual, “on-site” septic system. The Soils Evaluation Report produced by the consultant of the particular site tested on a parcel is reviewed and evaluated by an Environmental Health Specialist who generates a findings report.

An OSSE must be conducted by a Nevada County approved Soil Testing Consultant. Soils Evaluation Reports are valid for 3 years.  Consultant re-certification is required for any reports exceeding 3 years. 

It is recommended to have the consultant apply for the OSSE permit, as well as schedule inspections to conduct the OSSE. This can be done by calling the inspection line, (530)265-1599. Once the OSSE has been completed and signed off by the Environmental Health Specialist, you can proceed to apply for a Septic Permit Application. 


  • Hire a Nevada County Approved Soils Testing Consultant
  • Submit an OSSE application (see options below):
    • Option 1: Apply Online (The following is required to apply online: Consultants Contact Information, Plat Plan showing proposed work area and directions to parcel, Agreement to Pay form.) Paying your fees is the last step of your online submittal, a link is provided that will take you to a 3rd party, Lexis Nexis. You will need the balance due and permit number to make your payment.                                                                                                                                                                                       
    • Option 2: Apply in-house at Nevada County Eric Rood Center; 950 Maidu Ave., Ste 170 - 1st Flr; Community Development Agency. (The following is required to apply in-house: Agreement to Pay formPlat Plan showing proposed work area and directions to parcel, payment made with check/cash/credit card/money order payment).         
  • Consultant schedules an OSSE (see below)
  • Consultant and Nevada County Specialist meet on site for soils testing
  • Consultant submits Soils Evaluation Report to Nevada County
  • Nevada County Specialist generates Findings Report to determine what type of septic system to install
  • You may then proceed to apply for a Septic Permit 

Scheduling an OSSE

Protocol for Scheduling an OSSE

Updated: July 1, 2021

We are now scheduling OSSE’s for the week of August 2nd - 6th

Please Note: The County will try to accommodate requested dates but cannot guarantee availability.  

To schedule an OSSE, please call (530)265-1599.