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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSPECTION
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Information about Septic System Inspection and Testing as Regulated in Massachusetts. This document provides information about septic inspection and testing as regulated by law in Massachusetts. We include links to the actual provisions of the law and contact information for state authorities, as well as history and news release information for this topic. This information is provided by the author, as a public service; it has not been reviewed nor sanctioned by MA state authorities.
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New Massachusetts Septic Testing Regulations take effect 1 April, 1995, on and after which the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, (DEP) requires that all residential property sales include septic evaluations performed by a state certified system inspector. Contact the State DEP for a current list of inspectors who have been certified.
Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Law News Updates
01/15/2010 Updated links to Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Testing Law, Protocols, Procedures to include documents from the Massachusetts state government Title 5 site
9/16/96 Updated link to Mass. Info on the Web - see "More Information" below.
5/96 We're told that the state has made an exception for properties scheduled to be served by community sewer lines within five years.
9/20/95 Massachusetts News Reports today indicate that one out of four septic systems tested under the new law fail to meet acceptable standards of performance. Average repair costs range from $5400. to $7500. Source: NPR News.
8/2/95 Massachusetts News Reports today indicate that due to extreme costs to consumers to comply with the recent Title 5 Rules, the state is making changes to offer consumers some relief: homeowners whose old non-complying septics are shown to not be contaminating local groundwater will not be required to replace the system; some tax relief will be offered to homeowners who are required to make such replacements. Source: NPR News.
Additional Testing Required
Lenders are expected to require that all septic testing in MA conform to the new law. The new inspections exceed traditional visual inspections which are performed in many states. Because additional inspection is required, including excavation and pumping, septic inspection fees will probably reflect this new level of effort.
The inspector will have to locate wells and ground water sources on and near the property. The septic tank and distribution box will be opened and examined. Wells located within certain distances of the septic will have to be tested for bacteria and nitrates. Systems located within 50' of a well will fail to meet the requirements of the new law.
Standard Report Form
A new standard report form has been designed by the state. Contact the DEP or their website to obtain a current copy or use the links to the DEP forms at the bottom of this web page.
When are Septic System Inspections Required:
These inspections are required to be performed within nine months prior to the sale of a property; when freezing weather or other conditions restrict inspection, a six-months grace period may be allowed.
Quoting from the Mass Title5 Law:
When are on-site [septic] system inspections required?
There are exceptions and nuances to the general requirements listed here. For example, no inspection is required if the owner has signed an enforceable agreement with the Board of Health to upgrade the system, connect to a sanitary sewer, or connect to a shared system within two years.
quoting from a more detailed document:
When is a [septic system] inspection required?
In general, Title 5 requires an inspection at the time of property transfer:
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Note: Below we reproduce some of the Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Inspection, Testing, Documenting documents for easy access. The state's website (see link just above) contains many other pertinent documents such as waste hauler permits, new construction permits, shared septic systems, Mass DEP approval of variance granted by Board of Health, and a board of health certificate of compliance.
For specific guidance on exemptions, contact Ronald White at MassDEP with questions: Ronald.White@state.ma.us (617) 292-5790.
Design Manuals for Septic Systems
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