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RE22RC13: Title V

Approved Feb. 26, 2013
  1. Relevancy of Title V Regulation to a Real Estate Licensee
    1. Disclosure obligations under Consumer Protection Act 93A
    2. The impact to a seller and buyer in negotiating a P&S Agreement
    3. Public health issues
    4. Septic Systems: impact on water quality
    5. Massachusetts commercial lease clause impact
  2. Definition of a "Septic System"
    1. Mass. DEP: "on-site waste water disposal system that treats waste water usually under 10,000 gallons a day"
    2. 2010: Massachusetts had approximately 650,000 residential and commercial septic systems or 30% of all homes: There are no federal regulations.
  3. The Overview History of Massachusetts Title V
    1. DEP adopted Title V regulation 310 CMR 15.00 originally in effect 1975, revised Nov. 10, 1994 and revised again April 21, 2006.
    2. Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, system inspectors and soil evaluators will be requested to renew approvals every 3 years.
    3. Massachusetts towns may have independent Title V regulations. No state and town uniform codes.
    4. DEP's Goal: To provide sufficient information to make a determination as to whetheror not the on-site disposal system is adequate to protect public health and the environment
  4. Designing A System
    1. Review of a deephole test
    2. Review of a percolation test
    3. Discuss seasonal issues for the tests
  5. Massachusetts: 310 CMR 15.00 Effective March 31, 1995
    1. All on-site disposal systems must be inspected at or within 9 months prior to title transfer.
    2. Exemptions on residential properties: Title transfer between spouses, parents, children, siblings and revocable/irrevocable trusts or refinancing
    3. Validity: must inspect within 2 years prior to time of transfer with exceptions. Report is valid for 2 years or, if pumped each year, then valid for 3 years.
    4. Exceptions with revised rules: weather conditions; frequent pumping with records on file; exceptions for foreclosures or deeds in lieu of foreclosure; tax taking by government; levy of executors; bankruptcy; sales of condominiums; new construction or upgrades.
    5. Grace period of 6 months after transfer for inspection if weather conditions prevent inspection as stipulated by Code 310 CMR 15.301
    6. Title V triggered: within 2 years of a sale of property; change of use or footprint; design flow of 10-15,000 gals per day; every year for shared systems; a property is divided or ownership of 2 or more properties is combined or; by Mass DEP orders.
    7. Lenders still might require "holdback" if inspection is delayed.
    8. Discuss DEP interpretations of "weather conditions"
    9. Local Massachusetts Boards of Health standards may exceed state requirements.
    10. Massachusetts buyers and sellers may negotiate who will pay and who will perform the inspection.
    11. Inspections to be conducted by qualified and certified Title V Massachusetts professionals at state and local levels.
    1. Verify inspector's insurance and errors and omissions liability insurance
  6. Key Elements of a Report
    1. General layout of the system
    2. Type of use
    3. System operating correctly
    4. Water use records
    5. Description of system
    6. Evaluation of distribution box, tank, pumps and leeching field
    7. Vacant vs. occupied building
  7. Reporting responsibilities to Town Hall
    1. Within 30 days of inspections to be valid vs. voluntary
    2. By owner or facility operator
    3. Buyer and Seller may change responsibilities
  8. When a System Fails
    1. "Conditional" Title V certificate prior to repair or replacement
    2. Cesspool replacement issues
    3. Repairing vs. replacement and related costs
    4. Town Board of Health mandates
    5. Town options for sewer connections
    6. Discuss Alternative Technologies allowed by DEP
    7. Other issues: Setbacks with river/well/stream; could involve conservation
    8. Expansion of change of use. See January 1, 2007 Revisions to Title V
  9. Massachusetts Tax Credits and Financial Aid
    1. Massachusetts Tax Credit: January 1, 1997
    2. Tax credit for homeowner on primary residence only
    3. Cap of $1,500 per year and maximum overall credit of $6,000 for a four year period.
    4. Financial Aid with Farmers House Administration; Mass. Housing Homeowner Loan Program; Mass. 'betterment law" and state/town grants
  10. Large Commercial Systems
    1. Systems with design flow of 10,000 gals/day or greater but less than 15,000 gpd/day
    2. To be inspected frequently
    3. May require issuance of groundwater discharge permit
    4. May require the installation of technology capable of discharging effluent which meets Class I groundwater standard.
    5. Most impact on commercial/industrial properties
    6. No person shall discharge from the industry categories to any regulated systems.
    7. No system shall receive oil, hazardous materials or waste, medical wastes or radioactive waste.
  11. New Systems in Massachusetts
    1. Any change in use or expansion that requires building permit/occupancy permit triggers Title V.
    2. No new system shall be constructed and no system shall be upgraded ornexpanded if it is feasible to connect the facility to a sanitary sewer.
    3. Exceptions to the rule: remedial use of an alternative system; variances and special approvals; grand-fathering on industrial category users
    4. Minimal septic tank size to be 1,500 gals but determined by Board of Health.
    5. Commercial septic systems are usually much larger and more complex than residential.
  12. Maintenance tips critical to the up-keep of a septic system
    1. Have tank pumped 1 time per year with garbage disposal use or every 3 years
    2. Keep record of pumping inspections and other maintenance
    3. Learn location of septic systems and drain field
    4. Keep commercial building sump pumps away from septic system
    5. Do not dispose of hazardous chemicals
    6. Review the impact on commercial leasing abilities for future tenants
    7. Practice water conservation
    8. Know the location of flow diversion valve and turn once a year: adds life to system
    9. Divert roof drains and surface water from septic system
    10. Do not park or drive over system
    11. Do not grow landscaping in area of septic systems
    12. Discuss the use of DEP approved tank additives
    13. Recommend to keep grease, plastics, gasoline, oil, paint, paint thinner, pesticides, antifreeze, etc. out of system

Suggested Handouts:

DEP: Title V Percolation and Deep Hole forms
DEP: Title V Official Inspection Form

Reference Material:

MGL 131 Chapter 40
310 CMR 10.00
Title V Hotline available through Massachusetts Department of Public Health