Sanitary Sewer Overflow/Bypass/Backup Notification

The owner or operator of a sanitary sewer must notify MassDEP, and other state and federal entities as necessary, if the sewer overflows or backs up.
In the event of an overflow or bypass, this notification must be filed within 24 hours.

The Details

What you need

In the event of an overflow or bypass of a sanitary sewer, the owner or operator of the involved facility must notify MassDEP, and other state and federal entities as necessary, within 24 hours. This applies to: 

  • Municipal, state, federal, regional, industrial or other private wastewater collection system;
  • Wastewater utility;
  • Wastewater treatment works;
  • Facility with a groundwater discharge permit;
  • Facility with a surface water discharge permit.

This requirement includes any owner or operator of a satellite municipal collection system or other collection system that is part of a larger POTW not under the same ownership and control.

The following situations require notification to DEP and submittal of the SSO Report Form:

  • An un-permitted overflow or bypass;
  • Backup of wastewater into public or private property when the event is caused by a condition of the system owned and operated by the sewer authority
  • In a combined sewer system, an overflow or bypass during dry weather conditions or at a location not covered by a NPDES permit, or from a portion of the system that has a separate sanitary sewer.

Backups of wastewater into a property which are not caused by conditions in the system owned and operated by the sewer system are not required to be reported. These incidents normally occur due to blockages in service connections to a property or blockages in the internal plumbing system.

How to report

Immediately after discovering the overflow or bypass, notify MassDEP, US EPA, and other parties by telephone or email. See the Instructions for the list of agencies and contact numbers.

Using the Sanitary Sewer Overflow/Bypass Notification form, submit a written report to MassDEP within 5 calendar days of the time you became aware of the incident.

Fax the Notification Form to the attention of the Bureau of Water Resources in the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office (see list under Step 3, below) and the US EPA Water Technical Unit (OES 04-4) in Boston, fax 617-918-0870.

Next steps

  1. Review the Instructions

    Guidance on how to prepare your report and contact information for agencies which must be notified in the event of a sewer overflow or bypass. 

  2. Complete the Notification Form

    This form must be completed and submitted within 5 calendar days of the time you become aware of the incident. 

  3. Submit Your Notification Form

    Fax the Notification Form to the attention of the Bureau of Water Resources in the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office (see list below) and the US EPA Water Technical Unit (OES 04-4) in Boston, fax 617-918-0870.

Contact

Address

MassDEP Offices
205B Lowell Street, Wilmington, MA 01887
8 New Bond Street, Worcester, MA 01606
20 Riverside Drive, Lakeville, MA 02347
436 Dwight Street, Springfield, MA 01103

Fax

Northeast Regional Office 978-694-3499
Central Regional Office 508-792-7621
Southeast Regional Office 508-947-6557
Western Regional Office 413-784-1149

Address

5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109

Fax

617-918-0870

Feedback

Tell us what you think