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Septic System Ownership in Maine

Maine's peaceful landscape away from the hustle and bustle of large city life is an attractive feature for many of the state's residents. Yet, for those who opt for less urban homes, decentralized systems for water management, or septic systems, are a necessary, and sometimes complicated, fact of life. The state of Maine issues approximately 10,000 permits every year to residents in need of alternative water management systems.

Regulatory Notes

Since 1926 the State of Maine has taken responsibility for the regulation of septic systems. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MCDCP) oversees all regulations pertaining to septic systems and decentralized water processing today. While in some states, local governing bodies administer permits, homeowners in Maine apply through the MCDCP.

Installation Process and Resources

The first step for many homeowners in septic system installation is the site evaluation, or soil test. A site evaluation is needed whenever sewage, human waste, or wastewater is placed below ground in an area not previously designed to accommodate such an action. Normally, this occurs when new properties are built, or when existing properties are used in new ways.

Homeowners also need site evaluations for making changes or modifications to existing systems, as well as when replacing systems. After a site evaluation has been completed, a permit is needed before beginning any work. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine State Housing Authority offer financial assistance when homeowners struggle to afford a wastewater treatment system.

Finding a Certified Inspector

Currently, the State of Maine offers a voluntary certification process to installation specialists. Because the certification process is voluntary, not all installation specialists opt for this training. Working with a certified professional, however, is recommended.

A list of certified septic system inspectors is available here.

Contacting the MCDCP

DHHS-DHE
11 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0011
Telephone: (207) 287-5689
Fax: (207) 287-3165
TTY: (207) 287-2070 (Deaf/Hard of Hearing)

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