Review: EOP Septic Permit in Henderson County, NC

Septic drain field with one line exposed, being installed

We’re building a small cottage and garage on pretty steep mountain land. (More on that in other posts.)  Somewhere along our journey, North Carolina’s new EOP Septic Permit or Engineered Option Permit for septic systems came up.

What is a North Carolina Engineered Option Permit (EOP) for Septic

Until the recent past, the only place to get a septic permit was the county building department. In 2016, the State of North Carolina introduced an alternative, privatized septic permit process. The permit type is called an Engineered Option Permit (EOP).  The EOP process completely by-passes local county approval.  However, it requires an evaluation and report from a licensed North Carolina Soil Scientist, and review by licensed Civil Engineer. The Civil Engineer issues the actual septic permit.  The EOP is private process and cost is about 3x to 4x as the same permit from the building department.

Many advantages of using an EOP for septic

The advantages of an EOP are many:  1) Placement can sometimes be more flexible – helpful in unusual locations or applications. Rather than everything being specified by county inspector, a private engineer can discuss current and future needs, special placement, etc. 2) An EOP can be issued very fast. Although we did not need it quickly, it seems the entire process could be completed and permit issued within a few weeks from start to finish.  We found the whole EOP process very easy.  If you have a vanilla installation and no time constraints, the county process would be a lower cost option.

NC Septic Permit County Building Department Approval

Other than zoning, no approval needs to be given by the local county building department. The county building department checks EOP submissions for completeness, not content.   As long as the blanks are completed and it has an Engineer’s stamp, it is valid and accepted by the county.

NC EOP Soil Scientist in Henderson County

Steve Melin was our Soil Scientist.  He met us on-site and we talked over the project.  Steve returned a few times and conducted some soil tests before preparing his report.  It took a few weeks from when we met until we had a report in-hand.  Steve was knowledgable about working with the soil type in our area.

NC EOP Civil Engineer in Henderson County

Tyson Griswold was our Civil Engineer. He was great to work with, he also answered all of our questions and worked well by email.  We met Tyson on-site a EOP Septic Tank Being Installed, huge tank 1500 gallonfew times during installation of our septic system and inspected progress and completion.  Tyson was knowledgable about the EOP process.  

NC EOP is a multi-step process

Of special note is our Soil Scientist and Civil Engineer were hired and paid separately.  Before finding Tyson Griswold, we were first referred to a different Civil Engineer.  While the other engineer had experience and was familiar with the area, he seemed to have more work than he could handle. Do not be afraid to change course mid-stream – if someone is missing deadlines they set themselves, or cannot return calls for days or weeks, it is a great idea to look elsewhere, they are fortunate to have so much business.   It was great to find professionals like Tyson Griswold and Steve Melin – we’d hire both again, anytime.

How to start on a NC EOP for your Septic

If you’re looking to make your septic permit process in Western North Carolina easier, give Steve Melin and Tyson Griswold a shot.  We recommend you contact the engineer, and then go from there!

NC EOP Contact Information

Tyson Griswold, Licensed NC Professional Engineer
Griswold Engineering & Environmental, PLLC
+1-828-393-5820  Website

Steve Melin, Licensed NC Soil Scientist, is separate from the engineer.  Contact Steve by Email.

Henderson County Building Department


Grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA., previously lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida areas, and recently co-located to Asheville, North Carolina area. Trained as an Army MP, but bit of a renegade career wise. Phil has owned successful businesses in insurance, private investigations, surety bail bond industries, and has experience in computer network engineering, hospitality advertising, asset recovery and repossession, and even a few years traveling most of the lower 48 states, Ontario and Northern Mexico as a commercial over the road truck driver. Career long entrepreneur, property investor and rental manager. Phil loves sharing his experiences of great food, travel, experiences and products.