MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7

Report
Massachusetts
Public Health Inspector Training
Wastewater Certificate Program
(MA PHIT WW)
Session 7:
Existing Septic Systems:
Inspections and Corrective Action
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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Learning Objectives
After completing this session, you will be able to:
 Explain requirements to act as a Title 5 Inspector
 List the times when inspections are required
 Describe the inspection process and minimum
requirements
 Name failure criteria
 List inspection result categories
 Explain acceptable corrective actions for each
category
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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System Inspection
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7

Inspection vs. Assessment

Existing vs. New

Local Regulations and Fees
3
Official Inspection Form
Key Elements:
Certification
Inspection Results
 Passes
 Conditionally Passes
 Further Evaluation
by BOH
 Fails
http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/approvals/t5insp.pdf
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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Inspectors
1. Automatic Approval
 MA Registered Professional Engineers
with a concentration in civil, sanitary or
environmental engineering
 MA Registered
Sanitarians
 MA Certified Health Officers
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Inspectors
2. Application and Exam
 Board of Health Members
and Agents
 Licensed Septic System
Installers or Haulers
 Professional Home
Inspectors
 Engineers in Training
 Others with 1 year
experience
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Inspection Purpose

Protect Public Health and Safety and the
Environment by identifying and correcting
failed systems.
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Discussion
A new resident calls regarding their septic system.
They moved in three months ago and they just discovered a
sewage breakout in the backyard over the SAS.
They have a passing Title 5 inspection report from when they
purchased the house and are very upset. “You obviously
didn’t review the report very well when it was submitted, and
the system inspector did not do a thorough job!”
How do you respond?
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Timing
Inspections are required by local and/or state
codes and can be triggered in two ways:
1. Periodic inspections
 Large systems— 10,000 – 15,000 gpd
(every five years)
 Condominiums (every three years)
 Shared systems (annually)
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Timing
2. Event triggered
 Time of transfer of property (with exceptions)
 Change in use or expansion of facility
 Increase in flow to the system
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Inspection Process
Minimum Requirements
1. Note general conditions
2. Locate and inspect all components prior to SAS
3. Determine high groundwater elevation
Do I have to expose and inspect the SAS?
 Do I have to expose and inspect a cesspool, if present?
 MassDEP Guide:
http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/wastewater/inspguid.htm

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Preparation
File and Records Review
 Permits & System plans (incl. asbuilts)
 Groundwater information
 Water use records
 Private well information
 Previous inspection reports
 Pumping records
 Conservation Commission filings
DigSafe Number
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Starting the Inspection
Once on site
Sensory inspection
 Speak with homeowner
̶ Sump pump?
Wet basement?
̶ Backups?
Plumbing problems?
̶ Garbage disposal/grinder?
̶ Number of
residents/bedrooms?
̶ Problems or issues?

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Inspection Requirements
Locate and Inspect System Components
 Building Sewer
 Septic Tank – Dig up and open both covers
 Distribution Box – Dig up and open
 Soil Absorption System (SAS)
 Cesspool – Dig up and open
 Water Well – locate if applicable
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Building Sewer
 Locate
and inspect all pipes exiting the
building
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Septic Tank
Expose and remove manhole covers
 Determine material of construction
 Assess condition of tank and tees or baffles
 Measure tank dimensions
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Septic Tank, cont’d
Check inlet/outlet tees or baffles
 Assess liquid levels and movement (infiltration or
exfiltration)
Does the septic tank have to be pumped
as part of the inspection?
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Septic Tank, cont’d
 Measure
& report sludge depth & thickness
̶ If within 12” of outlet invert
recommend pumping
 Measure
& report scum
depth & thickness
̶ If within 2” of bottom of
outlet or top of outlet
recommend pumping
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Distribution Box
Expose and remove cover
 Is
box level & flow equal?
 Any
solids carry over or
evidence of backup?
Check static water level
 Is
it watertight and
structurally sound?
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Pump or Dosing Chambers
Expose pump or chamber
 Evidence of backup?
 Is pump functioning?
 Is alarm functioning?

Examine inlet/outlet piping
 Note float elevations

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Soil Absorption System (SAS)
Assess the area where the SAS is located.
This is not always easy to find or inspect!
 Is
it damp?
 Is
there ponding?
 Is
it within the estimated seasonal high groundwater
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Cesspool
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Cesspools
 Expose
and remove cover
̶ Measure dimensions
̶ Identify material of construction
̶ Measure liquid level (adequate capacity?)
̶ Estimate seasonal high groundwater
 Is
there adequate capacity for the current flow?
 Is
it above the groundwater?
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Groundwater Determination
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Groundwater Determination
Determine by least invasive method:
1. System design plans on
record
2. Observed at site
3. Checked with BOH
4. Checked with local
excavators or installers
(need documentation)
5. USGS database
(need explanation)
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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Groundwater Determination
Useful Resources:
1. Web Soil Survey
http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/Ho
mePage.htm
2. USGS Groundwater Watch
http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/countym
aps/MA_017.html
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Failure Criteria
All Systems
1. Backup into facility or system component
2. Discharge or ponding of effluent
3. Static level in D Box above outlet invert
4. Pumping more than 4 times/year
(not caused by clogged pipe)
5. Metal septic or tight tank (in certain cases)
6. SAS, cesspool or privy within groundwater
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Failure Criteria
All Systems
BOH may require further evaluation for drinking
water protection (15. 303 (1)(c)
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Failure Criteria
Cesspools and Privies
1. Within 100 feet of a surface water supply or
tributary to a surface water supply
2. Within a Zone I of a public well
3. Within 50 feet of a private water supply well
4. Less than 100 feet but 50 feet or more from a
private water supply well without acceptable
lab analysis
5. Less than 1/2 day’s storage or less than 6” to
invert
6. Design flow between 2,000 – 10,000 gpd
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Photographs
Sewage
Breakout on
Abutting
Property
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Photographs, cont’d
Ponding
Over SAS
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Photographs, cont’d
Leaking
Tank
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Photographs, cont’d
Laundry Pipe
Discharging
into Lake
Evidence of
soap on rocks
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Photographs, cont’d
Septic Tank
Tee with
Scum Stain
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Photographs, cont’d
Backup Into
Riser of Tank
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Photographs, cont’d
Backup
in D-box
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Inspection is Complete…
…now what?
Certification options:
 Pass
 Conditionally
Passes
 Fails
 Needs
Further Evaluation by Local
Approving Agency (LAA)
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Next Steps
 Report
 If
must be filed within 30 days of inspection
system “Passes”
̶ Inspection is good for 2 years
̶ If pumped annually, report is good for 3 years
 If
system “Conditionally Passes”
̶ Minor repair required (i.e. D box replacement)
̶ Once repair is complete and inspected, system “Passes”
 If
“Further Evaluation is Needed by BOH”
̶ BOH must evaluate and render a decision
 If
system “Fails”
̶ Failure must be corrected in 2 years max
̶ Time can be shortened by BOH
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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Myths
A
house with a failed septic system cannot be
sold.
A
cesspool automatically fails inspection.
 Someone
who installs systems can’t inspect
them
 Cash
sales do not
require inspections
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Inspection Did Not Pass
Categories
 Conditional
 Further
Pass
Evaluation by BOH
 Fail
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Repair Options
1.
Connect to a Sewer
2.
Install a conventional
system (or component)
3.
Install a nonconventional system
(or component)
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Timeframes
Failing systems must be corrected:
 Within
2 years
 Sooner
if required by LBOH due to
imminent hazard exists
 Owner
to insure no backup or
surface discharge
 Systems
to be abandoned in
accordance with regulations
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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Session Recap
After completing this session, you will be able to:
 Explain requirements to act as a Title 5 Inspector
 List the times when inspections are required
 Describe the inspection process and minimum
requirements
 Name failure criteria
 List inspection result categories
 Explain acceptable corrective actions for each
category
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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NEXT STEPS
•
•
•
•
Evaluation
Exam
Additional MA PHIT WW
training
Online Course Guide
http://sph.bu.edu/otlt/LPHI/M
APHITWW/index.html
MA PHIT- Wastewater Certificate Program, Session 7
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