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Sewerage systems

Posted by Rona Fischman September 19, 2011 02:03 PM

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Today, Sam Schneiderman, Broker-owner of Greater Boston Home Team discusses the types of sewerage systems that buyers might find, depending on where they are looking to buy.

Most City Slickers rarely think about the sewerage system in their home or condo. Their waste water just goes down the drain and disappears into the city/town sewer system unless the toilet or pipes get clogged or break. Homeowners pay the city/town sewer bill and enjoy almost no sewerage system maintenance hassles.

On a rare occasion, I run into a private sewerage system in a city. (I’ve seen them in some parts of Newton and the Boston neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Roslindale.)
Those that are moving to less densely populated communities may find that homes in some of those communities or neighborhoods are not connected to city sewers. Instead, they may find private sewerage systems on the property like septic systems or older cesspools. (There are also some newer innovative and alternative technologies, but I have yet to see them installed.) When working properly, private systems don’t usually require much maintenance and there is no sewer bill to pay.

As technology has advanced, municipalities have adopted strict rules for the installation of private sewer systems, particularly when they were in close proximity to drinking water wells or other water (ponds, lakes, underground streams, etc.) In Massachusetts, private sewerage systems are now subject to specific regulations
and must pass a Title 5 test before any property can be sold.

If a property’s system fails the Title 5 test and the current system cannot be brought into compliance, a new sewerage system that meets current regulations must be installed. (According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s web site tax credits and loans may be available to those who repair or replace private sewerage systems.) Prior to closing, the town must issue a certificate confirming that the system was properly designed and installed.

New homes must be issued a “certificate of occupancy” which can only be issued after the new septic installation has been approved.

Lenders will not finance a home without either a Title 5 certificate, new system certification or certificate of occupancy prior to closing.

Some buyers are partial to public systems over private because they don’t want to risk having to pay for repairs or a system replacement down the line. Others prefer private systems so that they don’t have to pay a municipal sewerage bill.

Do you have any preference for any particular type of sewage system? If so, why?
Do have any words of advice for buyers or sellers on this topic?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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