Business Answers About Licensed Facilities

Sewage Disposal and Septic Systems

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Why do I need to submit a septic system design with a Health Inspection Program application?

If you are not on a public sewer system you must show that your septic disposal system is capable of handling the proposed use, or that you have a design for a system that can. If the use is in addition to an existing use, and is more than a 25 percent increase in wastewater generated, the system must be expanded or replaced with a larger one.

Do I need to submit a copy of my septic system design, if I am only changing an existing Health Inspection Program license to my name?

No. As long as no changes are proposed that would affect the septic system, no septic system review is needed.

How do I obtain a copy of my septic system design?

If you have an existing system installed in the past 30 years or so, check with your municipality, or the Land Use Regulation Commission in the unorganized territories, which should have kept a copy of the design and permit. If they did not, you can apply to the Subsurface Wastewater Unit for a record search. Our records go back to July of 1974, and consist of systems permitted and sent to the Division by the municipalities. Download a record search request form.

What do I do if there is no copy available of the design for my septic system?

If there is no record of your system, you will need to retain the services of a licensed Site Evaluator. He or she will test your soils and design a system for your proposal, and tell you whether you need a local or State variance, or no variance at all. View a list of practicing Site Evaluators.

On a case by case basis, the Division will consider an inspection report from a septic system inspector certified by the Department. View a list of certified septic system inspectors.

How do I know if I need a soil test?

The general rule of thumb is that a soil test (site evaluation) by licensed Site Evaluator is needed any time sewage, wastewater, or human waste is being placed beneath the ground in a location where there was none before. This includes all first time development, all replacement systems, and expansions of existing systems.

How much does a new septic system design cost?

There is no mandatory set price. The cost of a site evaluation varies according to the Site Evaluator. You should contact several site evaluators and compare fees.

How do I know if I need a septic system permit?

If you needed a site evaluation, you will also need a permit to install the system for which the evaluation was done. If you aren’t sure, contact your Local Plumbing Inspector or the Division at (207) 287-5672.

How much does a septic system permit cost?

The minimum permit fee for a complete septic system is $100.00 for systems serving less than 2,000 gallons per day, and $200.00 for systems serving 2,000 gallons per day or more. Municipalities may adopt higher fees than the minimums, so you should check with the municpality.

Can I install a holding tank instead of a septic system?

Generally speaking, holding tanks are an option of last resort, because they do not solve the problem of wastewater treatment, they just relocate the problem. If a bona-fide system can be installed on a property, holding tanks are not allowed, except for very low volume uses like ice cream stands and similar uses. Further, while the initial installation costs may be lower, pumping costs over the long term can be prohibitive (especially for year round use).

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