Maintenance and Repair
Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Contract
Because I/A on-site systems are more complex than
conventional septic tank systems, Title 5 has special
requirements for their installation and maintenance: System
owners must have in place for the life of the system a
maintenance contract with a Certified Wastewater Operator
specifically licensed in Massachusetts. The manufacturer or
distributor of your I/A system should be able to provide you with
names of Certified Operators trained to maintain their systems.
You can also contact your local Board of Health for names of Certified Operators
working in your area.
- Plans for operation and maintenance,
monitoring and testing must be submitted to the local Board of
Health (and in some cases to MassDEP) for approval prior to
start-up of the system. Inspection and sampling must be performed
in accordance with the technology or system approval issued by
the local Board of Health or DEP.
- Certified Operators must use the
MassDEP-approved Inspection and O&M Form and
technology-specific checklist to record inspection results.
System owners are responsible for the form being submitted to
their local Board of Health and in some cases to
Testing the Effluent
- Periodic testing of the system's effluent
may also be required, and the system owner is responsible for the
results being sent to the local Board of Health and MassDEP. All
performance data collected under an approved testing plan must be
submitted on the reports; it is a violation of Title 5 to omit or
alter any results of testing done under an approved sampling
- Analysis of the samples must be done by an
approved testing laboratory unless otherwise allowed by the Board
of Health or MassDEP. Your Certified Operator will have a list of
approved testing laboratories, and typically will arrange for
- Typically, I/A systems must be sampled
quarterly for the following:
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
- Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
Systems located in nitrogen-sensitive areas may
also require testing for Total Nitrogen (TN).
- If test results demonstrate adequate
performance for a reasonable period of time, MassDEP allows
system owners to request a reduction in sampling
Repairing an I/A System
When an I/A system breaks down or fails, the owner
must either repair or replace the failed component or system,
just as with a conventional septic system. Options
Until a system is repaired or replaced, the Board
of Health and/or MassDEP can order interim measures to protect
public health and the environment.
- Repair or replace the component. In some
instances, manufacturer warranties may apply.
- Replace the unit with another I/A
- Install a tight tank.
- Replace with a conventional septic system, if