Sewage Enforcement Officers (SEO)
SEO News Items
SEO Certification and Training Program Guidance
SEO Certification and Training Program Guidance (385-2314-002) has been revised. It was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on December 12, 2020, as final. The Technical Guidance Document (TGD) and the Comment and Response Document is now posted in the Department’s eLibrary and also accessible via the link below under the heading SEO Training Program. The TGD provides a framework for the Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) certification and training program with the goal of producing a knowledgeable and skilled SEO community to help administer the on-lot sewage program in Pennsylvania. The program includes criteria for SEO candidates who wish to become certified SEOs, criteria for certified SEOs to maintain their SEO certification, and criteria for lapsed or inactive SEOs who wish to reinstate their SEO certification. In response to public comments on the draft TGD, changes were made, including: several clarifications; providing for up to three continuing education credits to be carried over from one certification cycle to the next certification cycle; and providing options to test out of the precertification soils course. Changes of note:
- Rollover credits have been reduced from seven (7) to three (3).
- A Department approved precertification soils course is now required, along with the precertification academy before becoming an SEO. The prospective SEO must pass the precertification soils exam and the precertification academy exam before receiving their certification.
- All currently certified SEOs who in the past have not successfully completed a Department approved precertification soils course have five (5) years from December 12th, 2020 to complete a Department approved soils course and pass the exam. Currently the Soil Hub precertification soils course is the only approved course to meet this requirement. Please visit the Pa Clean Water Academy for information regarding this course.
- SEOs’ certification cycles will change to a 2-year rolling certification, based upon their certification date. This will only affect newly certified SEOs and those SEOs changing from a lapsed to an active certification status. All current SEOs will maintain their 2-year certification cycle as October 1 to September 30 of even numbered years.
On July 20, 2017, Act 26 was signed into law as an amendment to the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (35 P.S. §750) (Act 537). Act 26 amends Act 537 to allow alternate onlot sewage disposal systems to be proposed during the sewage facilities planning process for new land development. Act 26 also requires the Department to develop a review methodology for alternate systems and to apply that methodology to all the existing alternate systems on the web listing in consultation with the Sewage Advisory Committee. Act 26 takes effect on September 18, 2017. The Department must have the review methodology in place within 180 days from the effective date, or by March 16, 2018.
Inspection Fees for Complaint Investigations
The Department recently received an inquiry from a local agency regarding the charging of a fee for a Sewage Enforcement Officer to conduct a complaint investigation. We have been advised by DEP's regulatory counsel that the imposition of such a fee is not sanctioned by the Sewage Facilities Act and is not one of the powers and duties granted to municipalities by the legislature. Please consult with your regional DEP office if you have any questions in this regards.
New Fact Sheet - Understanding Onlot Sewage Disposal At Leased State Forest And State Park Campsites
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) entered into a joint policy in June 1996 (modified December 2002) regarding privies, holding tanks, and water supplies under pressure for existing leased campsites on state lands. To further provide clarification to SEOs and campsite Lessees of the obligations under the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act and DEP's and DCNR's regulations regarding sewage disposal on leased campsites, DEP and DCNR have partnered to develop this new fact sheet.
Chesapeake Bay States Sign Data Sharing Agreement on Advanced Onsite Wastewater Treatment
On April 16, 2015, the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to share data developed to document the performance of advanced onsite pretreatment units for nitrogen reduction. This will simplify and expedite the approval processes for these technologies in each individual state, and reduce costs to residents and manufacturers. Prior to this
MOC, all states nationwide approved systems on an individual basis, and many do not take data collected by other state programs into account.
The benefits of data sharing include:
- Approved protocols that can be used by the manufacturing community and shared between states
- New technologies being brought to market more quickly via additional manufacturers
- Expanded use of nitrogen reducing treatment systems
- Reduced burden on states to individually monitor and evaluate performance data
- Reduced costs associated with technology approval, which can reduce the costs of systems and pass that savings along to the consumer
These advanced treatment systems reduce nitrogen loading by an average minimum of 50 percent. Onsite systems are the smallest source of nutrient loading to the Bay at 3-4% according to the modeling efforts at the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office.
SEO Conflicts of Interest
As a result of recent inquiries from SEOs regarding conflicts of interest, please follow this
legal directive (PDF) if conditions apply.
All SEO Letters
Note: The following All SEO Letters were sent via electronic mail. If you did not receive any of these letters, please contact
RA-SEOtrng@pa.gov to update your email address and request which letter you would like to be resent.
Table of Contents for All SEO Letters (PDF)
May 6, 2020 (PDF)
sent via email
Extension of SEO certification renewal date to September 30, 2020, new certifications cycles running October 1 through September 30 of even numbered years, attachment with information and guidelines for SEOs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
September 3, 2019 (PDF)
Draft Technical Guidance Document
Site Suitability and Alternatives Guidelines for New Land Development Proposing On-Lot Sewage Disposal (385-2207-001) posted for public comment, Water Program Specialist position open in Central Office.
May 23, 2019 (PDF)
Draft Technical Guidance Document
Sewage Enforcement Officer Certification and Training Program Guidance (385-2314-002) posted for public comment.
April 11, 2019 (PDF)
New DEP learning management system called the Pennsylvania Clean Water Academy, new Precertification Soils Course available.
March 19, 2019 (PDF)
Announcement of the new
Precertification Soils Course available to SEOs and having a DEP subsidy. (This was sent only to SEOs that never took the Advanced Soils Course #109)
March 9, 2018 (PDF)
Announcement of open comment period on 2 draft Technical Guidance Documents developed in response to Act 26.
NOTE: This All SEO Letter was sent via electronic mail. If you did not receive this email, please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org to update your email address.
August 25, 2017 (PDF)
Act 26, Inspection fees for complaint investigations, SEO webpage and SEO news items.
February 16, 2017 (PDF)
Alternate System classification for Premier Tech Aqua Ecoflo Coco Biofilter.
NOTE: This online version of the letter contains clarification on what training is necessary in order for SEOs to independently review designs and issue permits for the Ecoflo Coco Biofilter. This clarification can be found at the end of the email in red.
SEO Training Program
Active Sewage Enforcement Officers
Any questions regarding SEO certification or continuing education should be directed to the
Secretary of the State Board for Certification of Sewage Enforcement Officer
via email at
or by telephone at