Subsurface Wastewater Program Policies
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POLICY STATEMENT – 144 CMR 241
Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules
Policy Number: 09-04-010
Effective Date: September 01, 2004
Issue:Replacement of Existing Licensed Overboard Discharges with Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Systems.
Background: The decision to recommend replacement of an existing overboard discharge with a subsurface wastewater disposal system rests with the Licensed Site Evaluator, who must take into consideration a variety of characteristics which will vary from site to site. The LSE must exercise their professional judgment when recommending the installation of a subsurface wastewater disposal system that does not meet the minimum criteria set by the rules. The following guidelines are offered by the Department to aid in this process.
A. Properties meeting the criteria set forth in Section 1906.2 of CMR 241 can be submitted for consideration as a replacement system variance requiring local plumbing inspector review and approval.
B. Properties meeting the following criteria can be submitted for consideration as a replacement system variance requiring state review. The Department will generally approve these requests, unless the review reveals some specific site characteristic or other circumstance that suggests the proposed subsurface wastewater disposal system will not function properly.
- The property, with or without easement, contains sufficient room for the smallest conventional sized disposal area recognized by the current edition of the rules for the reported soil condition; without a reduction for pretreatment; including the 3 foot shoulder and 4:1 fill extensions;
- The ground beneath the smallest conventional sized disposal area recognized by the rules for the reported soil condition, including the 3 foot shoulder and 4:1 fill extensions, has 6 inches or more of existing soil above bedrock;
- A minimum vertical separation of 18 inches is maintained between the seasonal high water table or restrictive layer and the bottom of the disposal area;
- A minimum vertical separation of 24 inches is maintained between bedrock and the bottom of the disposal area;
- The setback between the disposal area and the normal high water line of the receiving water body, as defined in Chapter 3 of CMR 241 shall be sufficient to accommodate a 4:1 down gradient fill extension, including a 3 foot shoulder;
- The setback from the disposal area to the owner’s well; if not classified as a public water supply; is 50 feet or greater,
- The setback from the disposal area to any abutter’s wells not classified as public water supplies is 50 feet or greater, and the well owner has signed the HHE-306 Well Setback Release Form, and;
- The setback from the disposal area to any public water supplies is 150 feet or greater.
C. Properties not meeting the criteria listed above may: a) be submitted for consideration as a replacement system variance requiring state review provided an appropriate argument in support of the necessary variances is included; b) retain their overboard discharge license; c) connect to an off-site subsurface disposal system; or d) utilize a holding tank.
Russell G. Martin, PE
Wastewater & Plumbing Control
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