Operating Permit Program

The City aims to protect public health and safety, the environment, and water quality. Guidelines and policies are provided to ensure safe and effective wastewater treatment and disposal. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers useful Septic System Maintenance tips for homeowners.


Operating permits are required to construct and operate a new onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS). For all existing OWTS, permits must be obtained when a property is sold. For Commercial and Multi-Family OWTS, renewable operating permits are required.

  • Residential (conventional system) operating permits are valid for 5 years
  • Residential (advanced system) operating permits are valid for  3 years
  • Commercial & Multi-Family operating permits are valid for  2 years


Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) practitioners working within city limits are required to register with the City. Find the application forms and current list of registered professionals online.

Mandatory 2-Year Training

City-registered professionals are required to attend or complete a qualified training program every two years in order to renew their registration. Find a list of accepted training webinars and courses online.

Fire Rebuild Policy for Operating Permits

If a property has been impacted and rebuilt as a result of the Woolsey Fire, the OWTS Operating Permit must be obtained within 60 days after the owner receives a Certificate of Occupancy. 

If there is an active OWTS Operating Permit issued prior to the Woolsey Fire (11/08/2018), the City will issue a new permit after the owner receives a Certificate of Occupancy contingent upon the following: 

  • The former permit expiration date is within one year of the Certificate of Occupancy issuance date 
  • Installation of a new advanced onsite wastewater treatment system
  • Replacement of a septic tank or seepage pit

Point of Sale Inspections

Malibu Municipal Code Section 15.44 was amended in 2008 to include Chapter 15.44.070. A procedure was established requiring operating permits and Point of Sale inspections for OWTS, commonly known as septic systems.


Malibu Municipal Code15.44 was amended in 2017 to establish additional measures to identify and correct failed onsite wastewater treatment systems. The changes include criteria for submittal of a Septage Pumping Report, a definition of excessive pumping, and procedures for corrective action.