Environmental Health & Safety

Septic System Management Policy


January 2010

Scope

In accordance with the requirements of Title V, Amherst College has developed a Septic System Management Policy that identifies monitors and addresses the proper operation, maintenance and upgrade of septic systems at the College. The Policy shall follow the environmental compliance initiative already established by the Environmental Health and Safety Committee(s).

Purpose

Amherst College has put together this policy in an effort to prevent the contamination of drinking water by identifying failed, substandard or poorly sited septic systems on campus and prioritizing environmentally sensitive areas that may border Amherst College property, such as Fearing Brook and / or Fort River. If a problematic septic system is identified, the College shall be required by Title V to repair, replace or upgrade the system to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Applicability

The approval, design, installation, maintenance and use of the College’s Septic Systems shall be the responsibility of the Physical Plant (Engineering, Environmental Health & Safety, Plumbing and Projects, if applicable), the Town of Amherst (Department of Public Works and the Board of Health, when appropriate).

Septic System Locations

Currently, Amherst College has only two (2) septic systems in place. Both are located off campus, on South East Street;
  1. Tuttle Farm at 415 South East Street, and
  2. 1771 House at 435 South East Street
The Tuttle Farm Septic System has not been in use since the house was abandoned and closed up in the 1996. The 1771 House is occupied and has an active septic system utilized by the two (2) occupants of the home. The Tuttle Farm Septic System is located 100’ from the house on the west and has a capacity of 1,500 gallons. The 1771 House Septic System is located 20’ from the house on the east side and has a capacity of 500 gallons.

Septic System Design and Replacement

Septic system design and replacement shall be the responsibility of a Professional Design Engineer or a “Certified Soil Evaluator” if appropriate.

Septic System Clean-Outs

The septic system at 1771 house shall be cleaned out every 12 months as recommended by the Mechanical Shop (Plumbing Shop) Supervisor at the Amherst College Physical Plant. In an effort to better track the clean out rotation, the Physical Plant Service Desk has entered the septic system for the 1771 house into the TMA work order program.

Inspections

Amherst College shall conduct an inspection for each septic system every seven (7) years or sooner if a problem has been identified.
  1. The plan shall be performed in accordance with the requirements the Department of Environmental Protection.
  2. The inspections must comply with the inspection criteria outlined in Title V.
  3. The inspection must be performed by D.E.P. approved Septic System Inspectors
  4. At the initiation of the plan…
  • A notice must be recorded on the properties deed served by the septic systems covered under the plan, stating the existence of the D.E.P. approved inspection plan, its applicability to the property, and the requirement that the system be inspected in accordance with the schedule outlined in the D.E.P. approved plan; or
  • Some other mechanism as approved by D.E.P. for giving notice of the above described information to subsequent owners and other interested parties.
The plan must set forth a system of monitoring:
  1. whether inspections are being performed in accordance with the D.E.P. approved plan, and
  2. whether failed systems are being upgraded in accordance with the applicable time frames in Title V.
A Title V inspection is required for private on-site sewage disposal systems before properties using them are sold, expanded or undergo a change in use.

Inspection Factors

  1. The Amherst College Septic System Management Policy shall prioritize the areas to be inspected based on the following potential for catastrophic system failures:
  • frequent pumping of systems
  • high ground water
  • poor soils (evidence of breakdowns)
  • proximity to water (i.e. surface water, wells, systems bordering wetlands)
  • other Title V failure criteria
  1. The Amherst College Septic System Management Policy must include a map outlining the areas to be inspected.
  2. The policy includes a narrative describing the site conditions in the areas which are to be included in the plan.
  3. Identification of small bodies of water shall be included in the policy.