Morse Engineering and Construction Industries

Failed Title V Certification when Selling A Home: What to Do Now

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 11, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Tank Inspection

When selling a home in Massachusetts that involves a septic system, one of the most important considerations is getting your Title V certification. The last thing you want is a problem with your septic system!

What happens if your septic system fails and your title V does not pass?

First, get in touch with a local engineer and the board of health. The engineer is going to determine if there is a "reserve area" on the original septic design where additional leach trenches could be added.

It may be determined that the system needs to be placed in another area. In this case the engineer will draw up a septic design. The septic design is based on soil tests. These tests are called "perks and deep hole tests". The perk test determines how quickly the soil leaches and the deep hole test determines the water table level. Soils that have more gravel are better than those with clay and rock. A higher water table is not good when considering septic systems. With a high water table, you may need to have a "raised system."

Once the septic system design is done and approved by the board of health, you'll want at least three bids from various septic installers.

If you are in the middle of a Real Estate transaction and find out your septic system has failed and it will not be able to be repaired or replaced before the closing, the bank giving the buyer the loan will require you to escrow 1.5 times the estimate to fix or replace the system. However, keep in mind that every bank will not allow a septic escrow. The buyer may end up having to wait until the installation is complete.

If you are unfortunate enough to have to replace your septic system, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

What Kind of Septic System Is Right?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 04, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

There are several types of septic systems you may consider for your new construction project, each of which could be beneficial in different ways.

Conventional Septic Systems

There are two general styles of conventional septic tanks that are used today, with the older graveled septic system being cheaper but not as preferred as the newer chamber septic system. Conventional septic systems feature a septic tank that is fed by a pipe which connects the building it is being used for. As water fills up inside the septic tank, it will eventually rise to the level of a drainage pipe, which leads out to the drainage field where the water drains into the ground. Septic tanks are intentionally made in large sizes to allow time for the wastewater to separate, creating a layer of sludge on the bottom and a layer of scum that floats on the surface. Both the chamber and graveled system drainfields create porous surfaces that allow the untreated water to sink into the soil, which naturally removes harmful bacteria and viruses.

Low-Pressure Pipe Systems

This solution is often used for situations where the natural terrain and orientation of the building demands that the drainfield be located uphill from the tank, meaning that gravity won’t cooperate when it comes to getting your wastewater to drain in the right place. This system is similar to the conventional septic system design, only there is a second tank added inside the main septic tank. This tank is programmed to pump out the wastewater twice each day, sending the wastewater through the drainfields where it can percolate into the soil.

Evapotranspiration System

In environments where the level of evaporation vastly exceeds the level of precipitation, such as in a semi-arid or arid climate, an evapotranspiration septic system will be a great solution. These types of climates tend to not have sufficient layers of permeable soil to treat the wastewater, so an alternative to the conventional system is needed. An Evapotranspiration septic system features an underground tank with a drainfield that has a trench with an impermeable barrier rather than a porous surface. This trench is topped by mounded sand and plants, which allows the water to evaporate into the air and transpirate into the plants. This process allows the wastewater to be treated through the sand without spilling over onto the dry terrain. An alternate version of this system changes the drainfield by making it permeable, allowing the water to percolate into the soil as well, making it a viable solution for moist climates as well.

When you need septic service, installations, or repairs that you can trust, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Choosing the Right Size Septic Tank

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 28, 2020

This blog includes two different septic tank size tables to determine the required size or capacity you need for your septic tank.

How big does your septic tank need to be?

Typically the septic tank volume for a conventional tank and drainfield is estimated at a minimum of 1000 gallons or 1.5 x average total daily wastewater flow.

Morse Engineering and Construction

Also important to know is what the smallest recommended septic tank sizes can be based on building occupancy or wastewater volume.

How big does our septic tank need to be based on the number of bedrooms in the home?

Some jurisdictions use the number of bedrooms rather than number of occupants or estimated daily wastewater flow to guide homeowners and septic installers in choosing a septic tank size.

Morse Engineering and Construction

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


What Does a Septic System Inspection Include?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 14, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic System Inspection

Are you getting ready to buy or sell a home? Your home or the home you are about to buy may need a septic system inspection.

What a septic inspection includes:

  • Locating the system.
  • Uncovering access holes.
  • Flushing the toilets.
  • Checking for signs of back up.
  • Measuring scum and sludge layers.
  • Identifying any leaks.
  • Inspecting mechanical components.
  • Pumping the tank if necessary.

For more information on septic system inspections, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

Massachusetts Septic System Tax Credits

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

Here is some information on the ailed cesspool or septic system credit (Title V) for repair or replacement.

If you:

  • Are not a dependent of another taxpayer
  • Own residential property in Massachusetts
  • Occupy the residential property as your principal residence

You're allowed a credit for expenses you paid to:

  • Repair or replace a failed cesspool or septic system to comply with state sewer system requirements
  • Connect to a municipal sewer system to follow a federal court order, administrative consent order, state court order, consent decree, or similar mandate

Nonresidents do not qualify for this credit since the property must be an owner-occupied principal residence in Massachusetts. However, former Massachusetts residents who have to file Massachusetts nonresident tax returns may claim their unused prior year credit carryovers.

Part-year residents qualify for the full credit if the property is an owner-occupied principal residence in Massachusetts.

Qualified expenses you paid to bring a failed system into full compliance include:

  • An upgraded system
  • An alternative system
  • A shared system
  • A connector to a sewer system

Generally, only expenses for services or costs in connecting or hooking-up a sewer line from your property to the public sewer line qualify when calculating the credit. If you obtained a loan to finance a sewer line hook-up or connection, you can include it in calculating the Title V credit if you are required to or are allowed to connect to a town or city sewer system to cure a failed system.

If you voluntarily repair or replace a cesspool or septic tank, you can not claim this credit since it is not considered a "failed" system under Title V. When calculating the credit, do not include betterments (improvements) related to constructing, extending, improving, or maintaining a new or existing sewer system and/or a water treatment system for a city or town either.

To qualify for the credit:

  • The credit is 40% (.40) of the costs (not to exceed $15,000). The total amount of the credit cannot exceed $6,000.
  • When calculating the credit, subtract any interest subsidies you received from Massachusetts.
  • You can claim the credit for the year the repair or replacement work is completed.

If the credit is greater than the tax you owe, you can carry forward the excess credit for up to the next 5 tax years.

For information on a new septic system or repairing a septic system, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.

What to Do If Your Septic System Fails Inspection

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 30, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Tank Inspection

Why septic systems fail

Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables. These conditions can cause hydraulic failures and contamination of nearby water sources.

Failure to perform routine maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank generally at least every three to five years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system.

Whom to contact if you have problems with your septic system

Contact a local septic system service provider, your local health department, or onsite wastewater treatment regulatory agency. contact Morse Engineering and Construction for a septic system inspection or for more information.

Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Requirements

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 23, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

One of the first things to consider when selling a Massachusetts home is to understand the Title 5 septic system law if the property does not have public sewer.

When your home is being serviced by a septic system, one of the most important considerations is getting your Title 5 certification done because the last thing you want is a problem with your septic system.

It is important to get the title 5 inspection taken care of before putting your home on the market. At the very least the inspection should be done within the first few weeks the home is posted for sale. Anyone who has ever had a failed title 5 can tell you how challenging it is to deal with.

The financial burden that a failed septic system creates can be pretty substantial. The cost to put in a new title 5 compliant septic system can range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more depending on the soil conditions, water table and whether ledge is encountered.

Aside from the unplanned financial headache, it also involves excavating your yard to install a new system.

So what happens if your Massachusetts title 5 septic system fails and you do not pass the Title V inspection?

In the event that your septic system fails, you need to get in touch with an engineer and the local board of health in the town where you are selling your home. The engineer will determine if there is a “reserve area” on the original septic system design that would allow for additional leach trenches to be added.

If the engineer determines that a reserve area is not possible, then a new septic system design will have to be drawn up. The septic design will be based on the soil testing that will be done. These tests are known as “perks and deep holes.” The perk test will determine how quickly the soil leaches and the deep hole test will ascertain the level of the water table. Soils that have gravel are more suitable for septic systems than those with clay and rock. A higher water table also is not beneficial for septic systems. With a high water table you may need to have what is called a “raised system” where additional soils need to be brought in.

Once the septic system design is completed and approved by the board of health the next step is to send it out for bid to a few septic system installers. You should get at least three bids because estimates can vary.

For more information on septic system inspections and Title V, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.


Septic Systems & Title 5 in New Construction

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 16, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

Whether you're building a new septic system or upgrading an existing one, there are Title 5 requirements that apply to new construction. Title 5 requirements must be followed in order to prevent damage to human health and the environment.

System owner's responsibilities

It is always the system owner's responsibility to ensure things are done in accordance with Title 5 regulations. If you have questions related to building or expanding a new Title 5 system, you should contact your local Board of Health directly as they are the primary regulatory authority for new construction.

For new construction of a septic system, the first step is to go to your local Board of Health as well as your local Building Department. You will need to obtain permits from both separately. You should initially provide each department with a verbal explanation of what you're proposing.

Required approvals before starting construction

In your initial conversation with the Board of Health and Building Department, it is important to ask them what Title 5 requirements and local requirements must be complied with in your particular case, and what specific approvals are needed from them. Both Departments will give you applications to be completed and returned. Once the Board of Health and Building Department have approved your applications, they will send you a letter in writing that either a) approves the request, b) approves the request but with specific conditions that must be met or c) denies the request.

Also, the Board of Health will tell you whether MassDEP has to approve any of the applications. MassDEP reviews an application only after the Board of Health has made a final decision. You must ensure that all of the necessary approvals from the Board of Health, the Building Department, and MassDEP, if appropriate, are received before you or anyone else begins any work.

Depending on the type of work you're proposing and approved for, you may need to hire a licensed system inspector to verify the location of system components, and perform the necessary work. There can be a variety of professionals involved: designer, soil evaluator, installer, inspector. However, even if you've hired a licensed inspector or system designer to do the work, you as the system owner are always responsible for your system. As work is being completed, you should be getting regular and detailed information and receipts from the professionals you've hired. For more information, refer to the Local Septic Management Homeowner Checklist.

Contact Morse Engineering and Construction and your local Board of Health for more information.

Septic System Installation Services ARE Essential in MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 02, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction Industries, LLC - Septic System in Sturbridge, Fiskdale, MA

The world has been put on-hold, but your construction project does not need to be. You can still begin your home construction site work and septic system design and installation.

On the list of Essential Services in Massachusetts, construction is mentioned a number of times as supporting other essential services, but a new section titled “Construction-Related Activities” was added. This means we can work and Morse Engineering and Construction is open for business and taking all necessary precautions.

While much of the work done in Massachusetts has shifted to being performed remotely, if at all, construction sites are still full of activity. At Morse we ensure that work is done safely. Specializing in the design, construction, repair, and replacement of on-site septic systems in accordance with Massachusetts Title 5 regulations, we can inspect, install, design or repair. Contact us for more information.

Septic Inspections When Buying or Selling a Home

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 19, 2020
Morse Engineering and Construction - Septic Tank Inspection

Are you confused about why you might need a septic inspection before selling your home? Or are you buying a new home with a septic system? Get expert advice on septic systems and work with an experienced real estate agent in the process.

Before purchasing a house, prospective buyers usually hire an inspector to complete an inspection. The inspection often includes inspecting the structure of the house and checking for any pests. One of the most important aspects of the house is the septic inspection.

Septic inspections are crucial for your health and that of anyone else living in your home, so homeowners should make sure to schedule them regularly. However, because septic systems are buried in the ground, they're often the last thing on many homeowners' minds — until something goes wrong.

Here's everything that you'll want to know about your septic inspection when you are looking to buy or sell your house.

What is a septic system?

One in five homes in the US has a septic system but you'd be surprised how many people don't actually know what they are. A septic system is a system set up to remove the waste from your house.

In working condition, it takes the water and waste from the washer, sinks, showers, and toilets and filters that water. The system then redistributes it into the ground. The entire process helps to decrease water and soil pollution.

How often should you get a septic inspection?

According to most experts, you should get your septic tank inspected at least every three to five years. The inspection usually lands around the time that you should also have a professional septic tank pumping service pump the tank. Pumping the septic tank is necessary to keep your septic tank healthy and in satisfactory working order.

Despite what experts recommend, many homeowners wait much longer than five years to have their septic tank inspected. Many wait until something goes wrong to have the septic inspectors over. At that point, inspectors will often recommend you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Getting a regular inspection and pumping will not only save you money from needing a major repair, but it will also help deter any unwanted surprises if you decide to sell your house later.

How is a septic inspection done?

There are two types of septic inspections.

Visual Inspections

When buying or selling a house, the home inspector will usually complete a visual inspection.

A visual inspection involves asking a few questions, such as how old the house is, how often the owner pumps the septic system, and when the last inspection was. The inspector will then flush all the toilets and run all the water in the house to make sure the water pressure is up to par and everything is draining properly. Finally, the inspector will go out to the drain field to make sure there is no standing water, which can indicate a cesspool.

A visual inspection is helpful and quick, but a full inspection can really tell you the real story behind the health of the septic system.

Full Inspections

A full inspection includes everything a visual inspection includes, but it also goes the extra mile. This inspection is the one you'll want to get done every three to five years.

In a full inspection, inspectors will remove the cover to the septic tank and check the water level. The water level can or show whether the water is draining properly. The inspector will then run water in the house to make sure it is properly flowing from the house to the septic tank, and to make sure the water level within the tank does not rise when they introduce more water.

The inspector may use a dye test during this part of their inspection. In a dye test, the inspector will introduce dye into the water that is being drained to see how much of it enters the septic tank.

From there, the septic tank will get pumped and the inspector will check for any backflow from the absorption area. The backflow level tells the inspector if there is a problem with your drain field. The flow level is then checked again to make sure every aspect of the septic system is in working order and there are no blockages.

For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.