More Information about Wastewater:

Title 5 Septic Systems

Why should I pump my system?

As seen in the above diagram, pumping your septic tank removes the solids that settle to the bottom of the tank. Your tank is designed to allow liquid to pass into the soil absorption system; however, as the solids build up, it is possible for them to reach a level where they took may escape to the soil absorption system. If you pump your system, you are removing these solids and therefore minimizing the chances of solids going to your leach field.

If solids go into your leach field, they can clog up the soil pores. If there are solids in the soil, the liquid that usually goes into the soil cannot move through the soil and can begin to pool, or "pond". This is a not good because it usually means that wastewater is pooling in your backyard.

How often should I pump my system?

MassDEP recommends that homeowners without a garbage disposal pump at least once every three years. Those homeowners with a garbage disposal should pump once every year. (MassDEP https://www.mass.gov/guides/caring-for-your-septic-system)

How to know if your system is failing (from MassDEP):
  • sewage surfacing over the drainfield (especially after storms),
  • sewage back-ups in the house,
  • lush, green growth over the drainfield,
  • slow draining toilets or drains,
  • sewage odors.



Innovative/ Alternative (I/A) Septic Systems

There are many different types of I/A systems. All I/A systems are required to have an Operation and Maintenance contract in place at all times for the life of the system. This means that until an I/A system is officially abandoned or replaced with another system, it is the homeowner's responsibility to keep an Operation and Maintenance contract in place to service and inspect the system.

How do I know I have an I/A system?

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) requires that the existence of this type of system be registered on the deed of a house/property through a Disclosure Notice.

With the sale of a house and a Title 5 inspection, the I/A septic system's presence will also show up in this document.  The Title 5 inspector must also include a copy of the current Operation and Maintenance contract in place at the time.

Where can I learn more about my particular I/A system and how it is doing?

Visit https://septic.barnstablecountyhealth.org/ to find out more information and whom to contact if you have an I/A system or want to find out more information.