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Title 5 Questions/Answers

Selling home, first thing to do with septic

  • Title 5 inspection must be done by an inspector who is licensed by the state and your town. List of inspectors can be obtained on the Mass DEP website.
  • Board of Health must be notified 24 hours in advance to any inspection so that the Health Agent may attend the inspection. Any inspection completed without prior notification is not accepted and considered invalid.
How long is Title 5 inspection valid

  • 2 years, however, if the homeowner has his septic system pumped every year, it is valid for 3 years.
Failed Title 5

  • Septic system must be repaired or replaced. If ownership of house is not being changed, the homeowner may have up to two years to complete the repair. However, if the Health Agent deems the failure to be a health hazard, the homewner can be required to begin the proess of repairing it immediately.
Steps & permitting fees to install new septic system - PLEASE SEE FEE SCHEDULE

  • Hire an engineer to evaluate your land and design a system that would be appropriate for your property.
  • Once the engineer is hired, a percolation test is scheduled. Perc test measures the rate at which water is absorbed into the ground and determines whether the soil is suitable for a septic system.
  • Based on the perc results, size of your lot and # of bedrooms the engineer designs a septic system to serve the property.
  • Once plans are drawn, four copies along with perc results will need to be given to the Board of Health offce along with an application and if applicable a local upgrade approval request - forms are on the Mass DEP website.
When septic system repair is complete certification form for Title 5 standards

  • Completion of job, when all work has been done according to the plans;when the engineer has submitted as-built plans and paperwork along with installer certification statement, the Health Agent signs a Certificate of Compliance, COC.
Approximate process time for repairing septic system

  • Usually 3 to 4 months. Length time can vary from system to system.
  • Availability time for Health Agent to witness perc test.
  • If the designed system requires either local or state variances, time must be allotted for public/variance hearings.
Average cost for a septic system

  • Type of system designed, size of lot, # of bedrooms, engineering fees, requested variances, type of soil and proximity of system to water all contribute to the cost of the system.
If required to replace failed system and money is an issue

Cesspool: Will it pass Title 5?

  • Cesspools are much harder to pass in Massachusetts.
  • Only cesspools that exhibit signs of hydraulic failure, are located very close to private or public water supplies or otherwise do not protect or pose a threat to the public health, safety or the enviroment will need to be upgraded.Also, cesspools must be upgraded prior to an increase in design flow (e.g. the addition of a bedroom).
Septic system do's and don'ts

The advisory from the Board of Health is to educate the public in the proper maintenance of their on-site sewage disposal systems. Septic systems are similiar to your house or car, which require some maintenance on a regular basis.
  • Keep all toxic and hazardous chemicals out of the system.
  • Keep all foreign solids (cat litter, sanitary napkins, cigarette filters, paper towels, etc.) out of the system.
  • Minimize dumping of fats and cooking oils down the drain.
  • Be conservative in water usage. Space out laundry washings. Consider low-flush toilets and low-flow faucets. Fix all leaks promptly.
  • Maintain adequate vegetationover the leaching area of your septic system.
  • Keep surface water away from the tank and the leaching area.
  • Keep heavy vehicles and equipment off parts of the septic system.
  • Have the system inspected on a regular basis. Every two years is recommended and pump as necessary.
  • Keep plans and maps of the location of the septic system on hand.
  • Garbage grinders are not permitted unless the septic system has been designed for that use. Typically when using a garbage grinder the leaching facility is designed an additional 50% the normal size. We recommend composting garbage and yard waste.
Town sewer issues, contact DPW at 508-987-6006


Town of Oxford, 325 Main Street, Oxford MA 01540
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