Septic Regulations in Massachusetts

Septic System Ownership in Massachusetts

About 30% of all homes in Massachusetts depend on privately owned septic systems to take care of sewage disposal. Various governmental regulations are in place to guide the consumer through every step of the process in owning a septic system.

Regulation of Septic Tank Systems

Local Massachusetts Board of Healths are the authority in charge of regulating the septic tank systems. Title 5 of the State Environmental Code contains guidelines for the positioning, construction, and maintenance of sewage systems. MassDEP or Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is in charge of processing application, approvals, and is also responsible for implementing Title 5 regulations.

Licensure Requirements for Septic System Contractors

From 2004 onwards, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission has been in charge of the Massachusetts Title 5 Onsite Wastewater Training and the Certification of Soil Evaluators and System Inspectors. Soil Evaluator training entails 3 days of classes plus 3 days of fieldwork and a combined written and field test. The System Inspectors have to undergo a 1-day class and a written exam. Both categories have to renew their licenses every 3 years.

Installing a New Septic System

To install a new septic system or repair an existing one, consumers need to apply for permission to the Board of Health. They have to get the relevant DEP approved application forms from the local Board of Health for the purpose. Applications are necessary for permission to construct, and approval for onsite construction. An onsite soil test and a percolation test have to be conducted by authorized personnel. After construction or repair, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued by the Board of Health.

How to File a Complaint

To file a complaint, call 1-888-VIOLATE or contact:
MassDEP Headquarters
One Winter Street
3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Finding a Nearby Septic Service Company

View our online listings of Massachusetts septic service providers.

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