March 2010

Download this layer (by Watershed Index tiles)View this datalayer in an online map


The Title 5 dataset is a polygon buffer layer representing a variable width buffer zone around water features and other natural resources. These buffer areas are established for the purpose of aiding in the implementation of Title 5 (310 CMR 15.00) regulations for the siting, construction, inspection, upgrade and expansion of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems, and for the transport and disposal of sewage. The buffer areas represent the setback requirements for the installation of septic systems near specific natural resources and water features. Please refer to the Title 5 regulations for the specific setback requirements.

MassGIS stores this layer in ArcSDE (Oracle) as TITLE5_POLY. For distribution (beginning in February, 2004), the layer is tiled by the Watershed Index (previously the layer was tiled by USGS Quad panel).


The buffer areas were developed by buffering the hydrologic and wetland features contained in the MassDEP Hydrography Datalayer and wetlands features from the DEP Wetlands datalayer. The buffer area is 50 feet around all hydrologic features and wetlands, except for those features that fall completely or partially within a Zone A for a public surface water supply , where the buffer zones are 100 feet around wetland features, 200 feet around streams and ponds, and 400 feet around a public surface water supply reservoir. The areas of wetlands and hydrologic features that are buffered are removed from the buffered area.

This datalayer is developed and maintained by the DEP. It is updated when new hydrography, land use, DEP Wetlands and public water supply information is available.


The layer's polygon attribute table contains the "INSIDE" item. All polygons are coded 100, indicating they are within buffered areas.

Title 5 Theme Map

A Title 5 Resource Area Map series is available through MassGIS. This map series is intended to be used by the public as a tool to aid in identifying areas near water resources and natural features that are subject to the Title 5 (310 CMR 15.00) regulations. The information shown on these maps comes from many different sources at different scales. Some data may be incomplete, some generalization may occur, and some information may not have been field verified. To order the map, please see the Order Maps and Data page and click on 'Paper Maps'.


The Department of Environmental Protection GIS group is maintaining this datalayer. Updates occur because of changes to surface water supply watersheds and protection zones, updates to the DEP Wetlands  datalayer, or updates to the MassGIS Land Use Datalayer.
In July 2006 buffers were added around intermittent streams within Zone C's.

In July 2007 updates were made to the  MassDEP Hydrography Datalayer where the reservoir outlines were matched to the  DEP Wetlands datalayer and the Surface Water Supplies Protection Zones were updated. All of the Title 5 buffered areas statewide were regenerated, and the wetlands and hydrologic features that were buffered were removed.

In January 2009 the hydrologic data source was changed to the  MassDEP Hydrography Datalayer and updates were made to the SWP Watersheds datalayer and new Title 5 buffers were generated. In addition, the wetlands from the 1999  MassGIS Land Use Datalayer datalayer were removed from the buffered areas. The 2005 land use datalayer incorporates the wetlands features from the  DEP Wetlands datalayer.

When updates occur, new Watershed tiles of Title 5 data are placed on the MassGIS ftp site for download.

Last Updated 3/12/2010