The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) trains and certifies system inspectors and soil evaluators for approval to work in Massachusetts. To find an approved soil evaluator or system inspector, see the lists on the NEIWPCC website: http://neiwpcc.org/our-programs/wastewater/mass-title-5/listings-of-approved-system-inspectors-and-soil-evaluators/.
The following professionals qualify to be System Inspectors under Title 5, but must first apply to MassDEP for approval to conduct inspections:
- Mass Professional Engineers (PE's) with a concentration in civil, sanitary or environmental engineering, who must provide documentation of their status to NEIWPCC (e.g., a photocopy of their license).
- Massachusetts Registered Sanitarians
- Certified Health Officers.
The following individuals, provided that they have attended appropriate training and passed a MassDEP-approved exam, can also be approved as System Inspectors:
- Board of Health members and Health Agents
- Professional home inspectors
- Licensed septage haulers
- System installers
- Engineers in Training (EIT-certified with a concentration in civil, sanitary or environmental engineering)
- Persons with at least one year of experience in system inspection.
System inspections conducted by any other individual are not valid for compliance with Title 5.
To be sure that someone is a MassDEP-approved System Inspector, check NEIWPCC’s lists of MassDEP-approved inspectors. In addition, individuals who take the course and pass the exam will receive a certificate from MassDEP identifying them as approved System Inspectors or Soil Evaluators. These individuals should also be able to provide you with evidence of their professional registration or certification.
NEIWPCC’s list is updated periodically to add names of new approvals and/or to reflect changes of address of existing ones.
MassDEP may revoke or suspend the approval of a System Inspector if the agency determines that an Inspector has falsified or fraudulently altered an inspection form or misrepresented the results of an inspection. The inspector has an opportunity for a hearing prior to MassDEP taking this action.
Note that the Commonwealth does not require Title 5 Inspectors to carry liability insurance.
A septic system works by breaking down sanitary waste and dispersing wastewater to the surrounding earth. Title 5 requires a site evaluation by a state-certified Soil Evaluator before the installation of a septic system, in order to ensure that the soils can safely handle the waste load. A state-certified Soil Evaluator has taken MassDEP-approved training from NEIWPCC, and has passed both classroom and field exams.
The following professionals qualify as Soil Evaluators under Title 5, providing they pass the required examination:
- Massachusetts Registered Sanitarians
- Massachusetts Registered Professional Engineers
- Engineers in Training (EIT certificate) with a concentration in civil, sanitary, or environmental engineering
- Massachusetts Registered Land Surveyors
- Certified Health Officers
- Board of Health Members or Agents
- Employees of MassDEP involved in the administration of 310 CMR 15.000
- Persons with a Bachelor of Arts or Sciences degree, or more advanced degree in Soil or Geological Sciences from an accredited college or university
- Persons with a minimum of 15 semester credits in soil-science courses from an accredited institution. At least 3 of the 15 credits must be in Soil Genesis, Classification, Morphology, and Mapping. The remaining credits must be in at least three of the following categories:
- Introductory Soil Science
- Soil Chemistry/Fertility
- Soil Physics
- Soil Microbiology/Chemistry
- Soil Survey Interpretations/Soils and Land-use/Soils and the Environment
- Independent Study/Seminar/Geology
To be sure that someone is a MassDEP-approved Soil Evaluator, check NEIWPCC’s List of Approved Soil Evaluators. You can also ask the Soil Evaluator to provide a copy of his or her certification.
In the event that the local Board of Health and the Soil Evaluator disagree on the Estimated Seasonal High Groundwater Level (a crucial element in the soil-evaluation process), engaging a second Soil Evaluator to provide another opinion may be the best way to resolve such a conflict. Ultimately, the local Board of Health must approve the system design and installation.
However, a Soil Evaluator may not act as an agent for both the Board of Health and the property owner for work done on the same site. The Board of Health Soil Evaluator may perform both the percolation tests and the soil evaluation for a site as long as s/he is not directly paid by the property owner. In this situation, the Board of Health may charge the property owner a fee for performing these services.