Septic Installation

1.     Get trained and certified by the Berkshire County Board of Health Association. Contact Lydia Shulman (413-442-1521 ext. 60 or for more information on upcoming courses. Email will get a faster response.

2.     Get an Installers Permit from each Board of Health where you want to work. You must fill in all of the required information and include copies of your Workman’s Comp.

3.     Get a Disposal Works Construction Permit before beginning construction. Each installation MUST have a currently licensed installer on the job. All septic system work outside the house may require a BOH permit. Call the BOH. You are responsible for getting the septic permit before beginning construction. A building permit does not mean a current septic permit. Failure to have a valid permit shall mean a fine and possible revocation of your permit to install. The Installer is also responsible for complying with the Wetlands Protection Act. This means that you may also need permission from the Conservation Commission before beginning work. Ask if you are unsure.

4.     Read the permit. Check that the date and plan number on your permit match the plans you have. Read and follow all special conditions. Most Boards will be looking to make sure you have:

  • Sited the Soil Absorption System (field) in the right spot
  • Cleared the site of all stumps and debris
  • Removed all contaminated soils or old fill
  • Properly raked the bottom and sides before filling with approved Title 5 fill
  • Properly seated any liners down in to the existing grade, made them continuous, and brought the liner up to the level of the pipe or infiltrator holes or as shown on the plan
  • Used only sieve tested fill—make sure the sieve test is current and less than one month old for bank run fill
  • Used only clean, double washed stone if used
  • Kept septic tanks at least 10 feet from the foundation or used a liner with permission
  • Kept the SAS at least ten feet from the lot line unless staked by a surveyor
  • Kept the bottom of the SAS the proper elevation above the existing grade
  • Checked that the SAS meets the well setback requirements
  • Used Schedule 40 if installing lines under driveways or parking lots
  • Re-graded so that NO system component will be more than 36 inches below finished grade
  • Made sure the system is graded off so that runoff does not sit on SAS or flow into tank risers

5.     Call before beginning construction. The Board of Health wants to be able to schedule your job and may want to inspect the excavation and/or fill operation. If you don’t call, the Board of Health may ask you to dig up the field or may levy a fine.

6.     Keep a copy of the permit and the final plans on the site. The Board of Health may require you to show them to the BOH Inspector during an inspection, especially if you have called at the last minute for an inspection.

7.     Final Inspections should be scheduled after all of the work is done. It is a good idea to call the health agent and engineer the day before you think you will be done so they can schedule the inspection. Don’t cover anything until both the engineer and health agent approve the installation. Having water on site for the d-box inspection will make things go more quickly. BOH expects the installation to be substantially according to the plans unless you have called the engineer and the Health Department and received a change order. Call if you are having problems before you proceed with the installation (ex. ledge, water, fill, old septic system, etc.).

8.     Submit a final installer’s certification letter with a copy of the as-built ties for the BOH files.

Remember that each of your jobs is somebody else’s major investment.

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