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Title 5

"The purpose of Title 5, 310 CMR 15.000, of the Massachusetts Environmental Code is to provide for the protection of public health, safety, welfare and the environment by requiring the proper siting, construction, upgrade, and maintenance of on-site sewage disposal systems (septic systems). ~(Department of Environmental Protection Website Regarding Title 5)

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Title 5, when does it affect you?
  • When you are selling your home
  • When you are planning an addition to your home
  • When you are experiencing a problem with your existing sewage system, i.e. odor, backup, and/or wet areas in your yard
  • When your existing system is a cesspool, drywell or other pre-Title 5 system

The process of Title 5 sewage system can be complicated and lengthy. Often the sale or purchase of your home or building of an addition can be delayed by this sometimes-overwhelming process.

Stenbeck & Taylor, Inc. has over 50 years of evaluation, design and permitting experience. We understand the process thoroughly. Let us put that knowledge and experience to work for you.

The following briefly outlines the scope of engineering services required for a Title 5 Septic Plan. Your local Board of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website are additional resources for further information. If you would like to speak with an engineer please contact us (781) 834-8591 for a consultation. We welcome the opportunity to be of service to you.

Scheduling of Soil and Percolation Tests
The first phase of your project is the soil evaluation and percolation testing in which needs to be witnessed by the Board of Health agent. Each town has its own policy and procedure to adhere to with the coordination of the percolation test date. Generally, a fee paid in advance is required and usually an application form needs to be completed, too. Please contact your local Board of Health for further information. If you need help with this step of your project, we will be more than happy to assist you. We will coordinate with your local Board of Health to schedule a date and time. There are some cases in which the scheduling needs to be done immediately. Most towns have an outside consultant to witness tests on a separate fee schedule. Just let us know if your project requires this type of expediency and we will advise whether or not there is the option to schedule with a consultant in your town.

Please provide a copy of your deed along with the signed proposal. This gives a point of reference to work from. Research is then done at the Registry of Deeds for any other applicable deeds and surveyed plot plans.

Performing Soil and Percolation Test

With an area for the proposed septic determined, soil testing is required in this location. The soil test consists of digging a minimum of two (2) holes, approximately 10' - 15' deep, with either a backhoe or excavator. A soil profile is taken and a percolation test is performed. The results of these tests dictate the type and size of the system. The holes are then filled in and roughly graded over. We are not responsible for returning the grounds to their original condition. If unsuitable soil conditions are found more testing may be necessary, resulting in additional billing. These additional charges will be billed accordingly as they pertain to your project.

Field Work
A survey crew is sent to the property to locate, as necessary, lot boundaries, structures, roadways, topography, test pits, existing wells and sewage (on locus and also on abutting properties), wetlands, and or other relevant information.

Preliminary Draft
Once field work is completed, the information will be computed and drafted into a site plan. A suitable location for the Title 5 System is then determined. The client's preference for the location of the system can be implemented if options exist and code requirements can still be met.

The system is then designed to meet the proposed or existing dwelling water usage. The site plan with the septic system location, topography, cross-section view of septic components to be used, design calculations, and soil tests are then incorporated into a "Site Plan Showing Proposed Sewage System".

Final Plans

A copy of the final plan will be given to the client for review and comment. Upon receipt of payment due per proposal, copies of the plan will be provided for distribution to septic system contractors for bidding purposes. We will be happy to refer you to reputable contractors. Copies of the final plan are also submitted to the local Board of Health for review and approval, along with the Disposal Works Construction Permit Application and permit fee (fee to be provided by the client).

Construction Phase
Once a contractor has been selected and the permit for installation of the sewage system obtained from the Board of Health, it is necessary to have the contractor contact our office to schedule inspections of the sewage system as it is being constructed. A final as-built survey of the constructed sewage system is performed before the system can be covered. In many cases an additional survey for finished grading over the system must be performed as well. An estimate for this additional service is provided in your proposal.

As-Built Plan and Certification
Title 5 Regulations require the Designer to certify that the septic system was installed in accordance with the approved Septic System Plan. A "Certificate of Compliance Letter" is then sent to the Board of Health certifying the installation. An "As-Built Plan", detailing actual locations, is required before a Certificate of Compliance will be issued.

It is recommended that the As-Built Plan be kept handy for future use in uncovering and pumping the septic tank and any future inspections in later years.

Permitting from Local and State Agencies

This additional work adds significant time in obtaining approval for your project. Stenbeck and Taylor, Inc., should be able to determine in advance if any of these filings are required. However, some projects depend on necessary field work to be done before this can be concluded. Contact us for details.

Permitting from the Board of Health: Variances NOT required
Board of Health approval or approval of the Board of Health Agent is required when the proposed sewage system meets all of the local and state regulations. The procedure is as follows:

    Stenbeck and Taylor, Inc. shall:
  • Prepare the Disposal Works Permit Application
  • Submit the application and required number of prints to the Board of Health
    (permit fee to be paid by client)
  • Review the plan with the Health Agent

Permitting from the Board of Health: Variances Required
Board of Health variances are needed when regulations cannot be met.

    Stenbeck and Taylor, Inc. shall:
  • Prepare and file request for variances to obtain a public hearing date with Board of Health
  • Notify abutting property owners of hearing date and variance requests by certified return receipt mail
  • Provide representation at the Board of Health public hearing, discuss environmental concerns and explain need for variance(s) at hearing
  • Notify the client of any restrictions the Board of Health may impose
  • Obtain copies of the Board of Health approvals within a few days of the hearing

Fees associated with this filing include Board of Health variance filing fee, Disposal Works Permit (DWP) fee, certified mailing fees (fees to be paid by client)

Permitting from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
DEP approval is needed when State regulations cannot be met.

    Stenbeck and Taylor, Inc., shall:
  • Prepare and file an application for approval of variances with the local Board of Health and DEP
  • Once the local Board of Health has approved the variances, send copies of the approval to DEP for review and approval

Fees associated with this filing include the DEP variance filing fee and certified mailing fees (fees to be paid by client)

Permitting from the Conservation Commission
Conservation Commission approval is needed for all work done within one hundred feet (100') of any wetland areas.

    Stenbeck and Taylor, Inc. shall:

  • Prepare and file a Notice of Intent with the Conservation Commission and DEP
  • Notify property owners within 100' of locus regarding hearing date by certified return receipt mail
  • Provide representation at the Conservation Commission public hearing
  • Record the Commission's approval, the "Order of Conditions", at the Registry of Deeds
  • File for "Certificate of Compliance" from the Conservation Commission, upon notification by owner that all conditions set forth in the
  • Order of Conditions" have been met
  • Record the Commission's approval, the "Certificate of Compliance" at the Registry of Deeds

Fees associated with this filing include Notice of Intent filing fee, certified mailing fees, and the Registry of Deeds recording fees (fees to be paid by client)

Permitting from other Agencies
If your project is located in an environmentally sensitive area, such as the North River Corridor, approval from these agencies will be required. This only pertains to projects located in these sensitive areas.


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Stenbeck & Taylor, Inc
844 Webster Street, Suite 3, Marshfield, MA 02050-3419 • 781-834-8591, FAX 781-837-8238

9 Steeple Street, P.O. Box 630 Mashpee Commons, MA 02649-0630 • 508-539-9300, FAX 508-539-9301
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