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Maine is a predominantly rural state, and as such we rely heavily on decentralized sewage disposal facilities for human waste (septic systems). The State of Maine has regulated septic systems as a means of protecting public health since 1920 to varying degrees. Over the years, the Maine State Plumbing Code and the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules have been administered by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MECDC) and its predecessors.

Part of the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program, the Subsurface Wastewater Unit adopts and enforces rules that regulate subsurface sewage disposal systems, licensing of persons to evaluate soils for subsurface wastewater disposal systems, and inspection of plumbing and subsurface waste water disposal systems [42 MRS § 42 (3, 3-A, 3-B)].

What's New?

On this page:


Amended Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules

The Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules (10-144, Chapter 241) have been amended, with changes becoming effective on September 23, 2023. Highlights of the amended rules include the Removal of Permit Search Fees; a new section on Seasonal Conversions; changes to Soil Fill Age Criteria (shoreland zones); changes to Temporary Portable Toilet Requirements; a new section addressing Waste Discharge from Water Softeners and Iron Systems; and Clarification of Design Flows for Short-Term Rentals.

All septic system designs permitted on or after 9/23/2023 must follow the amended (2023) rules.

To view the amended rules or learn more, visit the Maine Subsurface Wastewater Rules page of this website.


SepticSmart Week 2023 – September 18-22

The EPA’s SepticSmart Week is an annual event geared toward bringing attention to the importance of healthy, well-maintained septic systems. SepticSmart education materials, such as Quick Tip Videos, brochures, and posters, are targeted to homeowners but can be used by anyone. The Subsurface Wastewater Unit supports SepticSmart Week and urges homeowners and communities to take advantage of these resources.

Cick here to learn more.


Municipal Office Resources

The Subsurface Wastewater Unit is pleased to introduce a new webpage dedicated to providing easy access to resources and guidance materials for Municipal office staff. Information on this page will assist in the preparation and submittal of SSWW/plumbing permits and the State’s share of permit fees, as well as offering subsurface wastewater, plumbing, and drinking water resources useful for Towns and private well owners.

Visit the Municipal Office Resources page.


Small Community Grant Program (SCG)

The Maine DEP is now accepting applications for Small Community Grant (SCG) program funding requests. The SCG is intended to help cover the costs of correcting malfunctioning septic systems that discharge sewage to waterbodies of the State or are causing public health problems. Grant applications will be accepted throughout the year, but will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Click here for application instructions (PDF).

For more information, please refer to the Small Community Grant handbook that is located on the SCG website.


Certified Contractor Renewal

Certified contractors expiring at the end of 2021 need to fill out the renewal form along with a certificate of a class that was attended for continuing education credits before the end of the year or your certificate will expire.

To submit your renewal application, or for more information, contact Brent Lawson:  Email or phone (207) 592-7376.


Site Evaluator License Renewals

Online Site Evaluator license renewal is available.  Click here to access this service. You will need your current active license certificate number.  The online renewal service is available 24-7, although technical assistance is only available during regular business hours through the online renewal site.

For more information, contact Brent Lawson:  Email or phone (207) 592-7376.


Subsurface Rules – Error Correction

The Department has identified a significant error in Table 4C (“Design Flows for Other Facilities”) of the Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules, 10-144 CMR 241.  Specifically, the design flow standard for marinas currently reads:

"100 gpd plus 10 gpd per slip or mooring (clothes washers are not included; design flow for clothes washers must be calculated separately); w/bathrooms add 30 gpd per slip; w/o bathrooms add 100 gpd per slip."

This design flow standard for marinas should read:

100 gpd plus 10 gpd per slip or mooring plus 12 gpd per employee without bathrooms;

30 gpd per slip or mooring plus 12 gpd per employee with bathrooms (clothes washers are not included; design flow for clothes washers must be calculated separately)

[Table 4C is located on page 29 of the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules (Chapter 241); design flows for marinas can be found on page 30.]

Site Evaluators should use the correct design flow standard when designing a subsurface wastewater disposal system to serve a marina.  The normal state variance process can be utilized should an LPI require it as verification of the design flow standard discrepancy.  Please contact Brent Lawson with any questions or concerns:  Email or phone (207) 592-7376.


Policy for Variances

The Subsurface Wastewater Team has adopted a policy on the use of microfiltration advanced treatment systems to overcome technical difficulties on sites with marginal or failing conditions.  View or download the policy as a Mircrosoft Word document.

For more information, contact Brent Lawson:  Email or phone (207) 592-7376.


Presby Environmental Inc Reminder

Contrary to Table 6H of the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules (Permitted Substitution of Proprietary Devices), no effluent disposal product(s) may be substituted for any Presby Environmental, Inc. product(s).  Pursuant to the January 11, 2010 registration approval letter for the Advanced Enviro-Septic, no other company or manufacturer’s product(s) may be substituted for the Advanced Enviro-Septic or Enviro-Septic, at the request of Presby Environmental, Inc. (The Advanced Enviro-Septic may be substituted for Enviro-Septic.)

This substitution prohibition does not apply to designs which generically specify a fabric-wrapped tube. The DWP apologizes for any confusion or inconvenience resulting from inclusion of Presby Environmental Inc. products in Table 6H.


Online Training for Certified System Inspectors

The Subsurface Wastewater Unit of the Drinking Water Program now accepts completion of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors' online How to Inspect Septic Systems course for intial inspection certification as well as for continuing education for presently certified System Inspectors. This course is the largest, most in-depth septic system course of its kind.

The course includes 10 credit hours; 79 minutes of video; 61 quiz questions in 9 quizzes; a 50-question final exam; and a printable Certificate of Completion.

Upon reciept of a copy of the Certificate of Completion the DWP will issue a Certified Septic System Inspector certificate to an applicant.

This septic system inspection course is open and free to all InterNACHI members. Non-members can only view a portion of the course.


Product Approvals

Click here to view a listing of products that have been approved for use in subsurface wastewater systems in Maine

Updated 9/25/2023