This program offers loans to communities to develop septic management plans.
- This page, The Community Septic Management Program, is offered by
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
The Community Septic Management Program
Table of Contents
Community Septic Management Program
The purpose of this program is to provide funding in the form of low-cost loans to allow communities to devise a Community Inspection Plan or a Local Septic Management Plan. Both plans must always include the provision of financial assistance to homeowners using betterment agreements.
Additional Resources for Community Septic Management Program
Community Inspection Plan
The community devises a plan to protect environmentally sensitive areas from contamination from septic systems. Inspections must be performed every seven years. This plan relieves property owners covered under the plan of their obligation to have the septic system inspected upon transfer of ownership.
Community Inspection Plans must include:
a. Scope and basis for the plan
b. Prioritization of areas to be inspected
c. Proposed schedule for system inspections
d. Interim maintenance measures
e. Legal and jurisdictional bases for establishment and enforcement of the plan
f. System for monitoring inspections
g. Proposed source of funding for administration and identification of revenue sources
h. Proposed budget for administration and inspection
i. Staffing plan
j. Outreach and education strategy
The following are required after the Plan has been in operation:
k. Annual status report
l. Evaluation report to DEP after completing first time inspections
Local Septic Management Plan
This plan identifies, monitors and addresses proper operation, maintenance and upgrade of septic systems in a comprehensive manner. This plan does not require periodic inspection, neither does it relieve the obligation to have the system inspected at time of property transfer.
Local Septic management Plans must include:
a. Identification and prioritization of areas containing systems that warrant more regular monitoring and maintenance and/or upgrade.
b. Development of a DEP approved database system for tracking the inspection of septic systems; this database must also track whether failed systems are being upgraded in accordance with timelines outlined in Title 5.
c. Development of requirements and a schedule for periodic pumping and other routine maintenance of systems covered by the program.
Community Activities suggested under the Management Plan
a. Create administrative structure to manage program
b. Prioritize environmentally sensitive or threatened areas
c. Notify public
d. Prepare priority list
e. Determine selection criteria for loans
f. Develop betterment agreements
g. Administer repair of septic systems
h. Administer loan repayment
Additional Resources for Local Septic Management Plan
Betterment Loans to Homeowners
After a community has adopted an inspection or management plan of its own, and has been awarded the loan amount, it is now ready to provide financial assistance to homeowners within the community. A Betterment Agreement between the community and a homeowner may be used for all costs necessary to repair or replace a failed septic system including:
a. renovating the existing system;
b. hooking-up to existing sewer lines;
c. or replacing traditional septic systems with an approved Title 5 alternative system.
To apply for a betterment loan, the homeowner must submit an application and petition the Board of Health. The systems that need work and that will be funded by a loan will be selected according to the priority list of that community. The following list contains brief descriptions of tasks that coincide with any financial assistance advances. (A more detailed description is available in the main document.)
a. Inspection of the system either by Board of Health or a System Inspector
b. Submission of plans and any bids made
c. Board of Health confirms that contractor has the required permit
d. Board of Health reviews project
e. Board of Health issues a Disposal System Construction Permit for the project
Scope of Work for projects should include the following. (A more detailed description is available in the main document.)
a. Site analyses including soil and percolation tests
b. Specification of the failed components to be repaired, replaced or upgraded
c. Design of the failed components or entire system
d. Obtaining all permits
e. Seeking bids and awarding contracts
In addition, the municipality has the right to inspect the project and the owner agrees not to sue the municipality for any damage to or loss of property. The owner has the obligation to:
a. complete the project,
b. keep complete records,
c. continue any payments on the property
d. use the financial assistance only for betterment of the septic system
e. repay the loan and any applicable interest.
See more about betterments in the related guide linked below.