Over 30% of the homes in Massachusetts have on-site wastewater systems, (commonly known as septic systems).These properties are generally located in areas outside of the towns’ sewer system.

Title 5 of the State Environmental Code, 310 CMR 15.000, is a regulation that protects you and your community. Title 5 requires the proper site, construction, and maintenance of all on-site wastewater disposal systems. On-site systems that are not properly located and maintained can contribute pathogens and nutrients to surface and ground waters, endangering drinking water supplies, wildlife habitat, and surface water bodies.

An inspection of the present system must be done by a licensed inspector prior to the transfer of the property. This involves the exposure of the tank top and the distribution box which can be done by digging or may require a back hoe. In most instances the tank will require pumping. If the system does not pass, it must be brought up to Code prior to the transfer. Repairs could be as small as replacing a pipe to installing a new system, depending on the situation. It is best for Sellers to have their system inspected prior to negotiating offers so they know whether they have a potential expense and what that expense will be. Buyers can rest assured that they will have a working septic system, and can negotiate with the Seller as to who will pay for the repairs, if necessary. An inspection is valid for 2 years.

For more specific information click on the State Environmental Code link above or click on the button below to check out the Mass.gov website information.