Information about Percolation Tests and Septic System Construction
If a person is considering constructing a new septic system in Conway, whether it’s for a new house or to replace a failing system, several steps are necessary.
1. Percolation Tests and Soil Evaluations: May be conducted throughout the year at the discretion of the Board of Health. Property and the proposed site must be accessible to heavy equipment for the test. A registered sanitarian/engineer and/or a DEP certified soil evaluator and contractor should be contacted to do the work. A BOH member must be on site to observe the process.
Note: A parcel of land in Conway may not be sold as/for a building lot until a valid and current percolation test for the site is on record.
2. Application for Test: An Application for Soil Percolation Test should be completed and sent to the Board of Health in advance of the test date with payment of the appropriate fee. (See the BOH Fee Page on this web site for applicable charges) Normally, the engineer/sanitarian will coordinate the date and time of the tests with the backhoe operator and the BOH representative.
3. Submit the Septic Plan: Following a successful percolation test and soil evaluation, an engineering plan for the septic system may be submitted to the BOH in order to obtain a Disposal System Construction Permit (If no action is taken within two years following a percolation test, the BOH reserves the right to order a confirmation test.) Such a plan must include a signed Application for Disposal System Construction and payment of the appropriate fee. The plan must be drawn by a DEP certified engineer/sanitarian and include all of the information and details required by the Title 5 Regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
4. Construction Permit: The plan is normally reviewed at the next regularly scheduled BOH meeting. The applicant need not be present. Once the BOH approves the plan, a Disposal System Construction Permit is issued. The permit is good for three years. The contractor chosen to do the work must have a valid Disposal Works Installer’s Permit from the Town of Conway. Any changes subsequently made to the permitted design must be approved by both the sanitarian/engineer and the Board of Health and an additional fee may apply.
5. Certificate of Compliance: Before the septic system is covered, a BOH representative and the sanitarian/engineer must inspect the installation to verify all elements are constructed in accordance with the approved plan. Normally the contractor will advise both parties of his/her schedule so that the inspection can be coordinated. If the system, as constructed, matches the design plans and all inspections are satisfactory, the system may be covered and put into operation. The sanitarian/engineer must then submit a final approval letter and “as built” plan to the BOH, at which time a Certificate of Compliance will be issued to the applicant.
6. Well Installation: All well locations must also be approved by the BOH. A Well Permit Application may be obtained at the BOH office. It should be completed and sent to the BOH, with the appropriate fee. For new homes, the well location is normally shown on the Septic Plan. An additional fee may be charged for site visits necessitated by missing or incomplete plans. Upon approval of the site location, a Well Permit will be issued and the well may be drilled by a Massachusetts DEP licensed well contractor. Once completed, the contractor should submit to the BOH a Well Completion Report and a Comprehensive Potable Water Analysis Report from a state licensed laboratory.