Subsurface Wastewater Program Policies

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POLICY STATEMENT – 144 CMR 241

Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules

Policy Number: 07-03-009

Effective Date: July 1, 2003

Issue:When is a system deemed a replacement system, and eligible for site condition and setback variances?

Background: This policy is based on the premise that a “legal” system as used in Section 1906.1.7 of the rules is any conforming or non-conforming system that existed on or before July 1, 1974, or any system serving a structure built after July 1, 1974 that can be documented by HHE-200 Form and permit. Had the systems installed prior to the major code change in 1974 been deemed “illegal”, the Rules would have required their replacement with a system meeting the current code requirements within some time frame. As many existing properties cannot meet all of the soil and setback requirements of the current Rules, variances would have been necessary to allow people to remain in their homes.

The inclusion in the rules of a section dealing with grandfathered systems dates to 1980. The concept of “grandfathering” has always meant that some condition or use of a property that does not conform to current rules; but existed prior to the adoption of the current rule; is allowed to continue to exist without modification. The rules were changed significantly in 1974, resulting in a large number of existing systems and properties that did not conform to the current rules. It has always been the Department’s intent to require these non-conforming systems to be replaced; by the current rule standards; when they malfunction as defined by the Rules. Individuals requesting replacement system variances are not asking to continue to utilize the existing subsurface wastewater disposal system, but to replace one with a design that conforms as closely as possible to the current Rules.

Policy:

A. The improvement of any existing subsurface wastewater disposal method serving a structure built prior to July 1, 1974 is deemed eligible for consideration as a replacement system under the conditions of Section 1906.1.7, 144 CMR 241 Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules; Current Edition; if all of the following conditions are met: 

  1. Both structure and original subsurface wastewater disposal method existed prior to July 1, 1974; and
  2. The structure and present subsurface wastewater disposal method were used for one day or more after July 1, 1974; and
  3. The design wastewater flow proposed for the replacement system is equal to or less than the wastewater flow defined for a like facility on July 1, 1974, as follows:
    1. Single Family Dwelling (1 to 5 bedrooms) – 300 gallons/day
    2. Multiple Family Dwelling – 120 gallons/day/bedroom
    3. Other Facilities – Actual water use data or value from the following table.


Proposed Use

Gallons per person per day unless otherwise noted

Airports (per passenger)

5

Apartments-multiple family (per bedroom)

120

Bath houses and swimming pools

10

Bowling Alleys (no food service)-per lane

75

Camps:

 

Construction (at semi-permanent camps)

50

Recreational-washrooms and toilets only

25

Recreational-mess hall only

15

Resort camps (night and day)

50

Country clubs (per resident member)

100

Country clubs (per non-resident member present)

25

Dwellings:

 

Boarding houses

50

Luxury residences and estates

150

Multiple unit housing (per bedroom)

120

Rooming houses

40

Mobile Home (per unit)

300

Factories-no showers per employee

25

Factories-with showers per employee

35

Hospitals (per bed space)

200

Hotels (per unit)

100

Institutions other than hospital (per bed space)

100

Laundries, self-service (per machine)

400

Mobile Home parks (per space)

300

Motels (per unit)

100

Nursing and Rest Home

100

Public park-toilet wastes only

5

Public park with bathhouse, showers, and flush toilets

10

Restaurant:

 

Ordinary restaurant-per seat

35

24 hour restaurant-per seat

50

Restaurant along freeway (24 hour) per seat

70

Tavern (very little food service) per seat

20

Curb Service (drive-in) per car space

50

Schools:

 

Boarding and Colleges

90

Day, toilet and lavatory only

10

Schools:

 

Day, with cafeterias

15

Day, with cafeterias and showers

20

Service stations (excluding throughways) per island

500

Shopping centers (without food service or laundries) per 1,000 sq. ft.

100

Theaters:

 

Movie (per auditorium seat)

5

Drive-in (per car space)

5

Travel trailer and Tenting area (per space)

100

Workers:

 

Construction (at semi-permanent camps)

50

Day at schools and offices (per shift)

15

Shopping centers (per shift)

15

 B. Properties that can document the existence of a permitted system constructed after July 1, 1974 qualify for consideration as a replacement system under the conditions of Section 1906.1.7, 144 CMR 241 Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules; Current Edition.

 C. Properties for which a valid Overboard Discharge License has been issued by the Department of Environmental Protection qualify for consideration as a replacement system under the conditions of Section 1906.1.7, 144 CMR 241 Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules; Current Edition.

 D. Properties not meeting the requirements of paragraph A,B, or C and needing consideration as a replacement system under the conditions of Section 1906.1.7, 144 CMR 241Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules; Current Edition, to correct a malfunctioning system will be considered by the Department on a case by case basis.

Russell G. Martin, PE

Program Director
Wastewater & Plumbing Control