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Water and Septic

Water and sewer are amenities that most of us take for granted. It is important to understand the proper treatment of sewage both for the environment and the law.

Water Use Agreement

A Leased Campsite Water Use Agreement (PDF) is required if water lines are installed on state forest land to provide water to your campsite from a spring, stream, well, or any other source.

No agreement is needed if water is gathered by hand. If the water supply originates on your lease, no fee is charged. However if the water supply does not originate on your lease, the fee is $25 for the 10-year lease agreement period. This will be included at the time of your lease renewal.

Requests for a Water Use Agreement may be made by completing an Application for Water Use Right-of-Way (PDF).

The Leased Campsite Administrator from your forest district office can help you with this process. A Water Use Agreement will not be approved for a water line to be installed into your cabin. Proof of an approved system is required before a Water Use Agreement will be approved.

Drilling a Well

Written approval must be given by the district forester before any well is drilled. Approval is not guaranteed and each situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Any water well drilled on state forest land must meet DCNR Bureau of Forestry and Department of Environmental Protection requirements, including proper well sealing and distance from sewage disposal systems.

A Water Well Completion Report (PDF) is required by law to be completed by a licensed well driller, and a copy must be furnished to the forest district.

If a well is permitted to be drilled on state forest land to provide water to a leased campsite, you must obtain a Leased Campsite Water Use Agreement. The well will be fitted with either a hand pump or frost-free hydrant and water shall be hand carried into the cabin. Water from a well is not to be piped into the cabin.


Two different approvals are necessary for the installation or modification of a sewage system:

  1. You will need an approved septic permit from the local sewage enforcement officer (SEO)
  2. You will need approval from the DCNR Bureau of Forestry before proceeding with any construction or modification of a sewage system on your campsite lease

An approved septic permit from the SEO means that the septic plan meets local and DEP regulations. An approved septic permit does not give you permission to start any construction on state forest land. You may not install, construct, alter, repair or connect to any sewage system without first obtaining a sewage permit from the SEO and obtaining permission from the DCNR Bureau of Forestry. You will need to provide the forest district with a copy of the approved septic permit and approved septic plan.

Replacing or improving a sewage system will only be approved by the DCNR Bureau of Forestry if the new system is entirely within the boundaries of your leased campsite, and has been approved by the SEO.

Any septic system that involves a drain field will not be approved on any leased campsite regardless of an approved septic plan or permit.

If an existing approved system malfunctions, you will be allowed to make repairs as long as you obtain approval from the SEO and district forester.

Any work on the below-ground portion of an outhouse or privy is required by law to be inspected and approved by the SEO. The DCNR Bureau of Forestry requires outhouse and privy structures to have roofing and siding materials similar to that of the cabin and be vermin proof.