Helpful Hints

The internet has a lot of information!  I’ve found several places for sound advice and useful information.  See below for a few “departments”.  Also, please note that specific information and rules on several topics is available here:

Septic System

Caring for Septic System

Helpful hints to keep your system working for years to come

Planting on top of drainfield

Want options other than grass over your drainfield? Here are some helpful suggestions:

Driveways & Pavement

Types of failure

Photos and explanations for various asphalt failure conditions:

Typical Asphalt Pavement Section

What’s under the black? Here’s a sketch of the layers you drive on:

Massachusetts DEP (Septic, Wetlands, Stormwater...)
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Most construction projects are subject to one, or more, environmental regulations. Everything we do to the earth has downstream impact. Here is some useful information for common project types.

Septic Systems

About ⅓ of Massachusetts homes rely on a septic system to treat their wastewater and protect our groundwater. Whether you are a residence, commercial site, or institution, you may need to consider what happens after you flush.

Title 5 (310 CMR 15 Massachusetts Septic System Regulations)

The primary regulations covering septic systems in Massachusetts. Note that every town can have their own local rules. Be sure to check with your local health department, as local rules supercede state requirements.

FAQ for Septic Systems

Lot’s of basic questions answered. I’m happy to answer your specific questions. Every site is unique!

Title 5 Inspection for Selling or Buying a Home

Details on rule applying to septic systems for home sellers and buyers.

Financial Aid?

In some cases, MA homeowners can get financial support from the state. Don’t forget to check with your bank – a new system can improve property value. Title 5 / Septic Systems: Financial Assistance Opportunities for System Owners

Financing FAQ: Title 5 & Septic System Frequently Asked Questions: Financing


If you are a single-family homeowner with “regular” residential plans, then no stormwater regulations apply to you (though, you can always take steps to improve what’s happening downstream of you). However, if you are non-residential, or more than a single family situation, then basic regulations apply to your site. Note that every town can have their own local rules. Be sure to check with your local conservation commission as local rules supercede state requirements.

Stormwater Management

The basic rules to consider: Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook

Other DEP Stormwater Guidelines

Snow Disposal

Snow contains sand, salt, trash, and other pollutants that affect the quality of our environment. Here are best practice guidelines for plowing.


Massachusetts is blessed to have thousands of wetlands throughout the commonwealth. Wetlands play an extremely important role in buffering human activities from subtle and direct impact on the environment. As they are such an important resource, they are heavily regulated. Is there open water, marshy land, or seasonally moist land within 100 feet (or less) of your work? If so, you will need to pay attention to these features and likely have to file a Notice of Intent with your local conservation commission.

Help! I have wetlands on or near my project site. What basics do i need to know?

Wetland Protection Act (310 CMR 10)

The primary regulations on wetlands in Massachusetts. Note that every town can have their own local rules. Be sure to check with your local conservation commission, as local rules supercede state requirements.

Main Regulations:

Environmentally Friendly Lawn Care & Landscaping

Information on how your yard impacts the environment and how to reduce that impact.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (f.k.a. MassHighway)

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

Rules for structures and sites that are generally open to the public.

Building Code

Though not official, Massachusetts has generally adopted the International Building Code as published by the International Code Council.

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