Regular maintenance of your septic system will keep your system working efficiently and can prevent costly repairs. Inspections also can save you money by preventing unnecessary pump-outs, and a well-maintained system helps protect water quality. The First Maintenance Inspection provides baseline information about your system.
What Will Happen
- Upon receiving notice, property owners have forty-five days from the date of the notice to have an ISDS inspection by a Town Licensed Inspector.
- To prepare for the inspection, it's a good idea to collect information about the system and past maintenance, and if possible, locate and unearth the septic tank/cesspool cover to save costs.
- If there is a cesspool or a system installed prior to 1970, a pump out is required during the First Maintenance Inspection. If the system was installed after 1970, a pump out is recommended but not mandatory.
- The Inspector will follow procedures set forth in the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) Inspection Handbook.
- The Inspector will complete a report that describes the system, identifies maintenance requirements, and recommends a schedule for the next inspection and pump out.
- The inspection report is a three part form. The Inspector will forward one part to the Town, one part to the property owner and keep one part.
- The Town will review the inspection results and send a reminder before the next inspection and pump out is due.
Tips for Property Owners
- Get multiple quotes from Town Licensed Inspectors - prices do vary.
- Ask the Inspector about discounts for inspecting and pumping at the same time.
- Ask the Inspector about discounts if you locate and uncover the tank yourself.
- If possible, be home when the inspection occurs so you can answer questions from the Inspector and ask questions about the functioning of your system.
- Be sure to get a copy of the inspection report from the Inspector.
What's Required After the Inspection
FUNCTIONING SEPTIC SYSTEM IN GOOD CONDITION
- The Town will issue a reminder when the next inspection and/or pump out is due.
FUNCTIONING SEPTIC SYSTEM THAT NEEDS PUMPING
- The Inspector will give you a copy of the inspection report stating the date you must have your septic system pumped.
- You must get the pumping completed and submit a pumping receipt to the Town within thirty days of notice.
- You will then get a reminder of the next inspection and pump out date.
SEPTIC SYSTEM REQUIRING MAINTENANCE OR REPAIR
- The Inspector will give you a copy of the inspection report, listing the maintenance or repairs needed.
- The Town will issue a Notice of Violation informing you to repair or replace your system.
- You have eighteen months from the receipt of the Notice of Violation to replace / repair your failed ISDS with a new ISDS as approved by the appropriate regulatory authority.
- You will get a reminder of your next inspection and pump out date.
- By ordinance, all cesspools must be replaced within 5 years of the First Inspection or within 12 months of property sale.
- After replacing your cesspool, a copy of the Certificate of Conformance issued by the RIDEM must be submitted to the Town as proof of completion.
FAILED SEPTIC SYSTEM OR CESSPOOL WITH IMMEDIATE THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH OR ENVIRONMENT
- Upon receipt of the failed inspection, the Town will issue a Notice of Violation.
- The property owner shall have 18 months from the date of Notice of Violation to design and replace the failed system.
- After replacing the failed system, a copy of the Certificate of Conformance issued by the RIDEM must be submitted to the Town as proof of completion.
Please call the Onsite Wastewater Management office at (401) 789-9331 extension 2250 if you have questions regarding this process.