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July 20, 2024 Clouds | 64°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 13: State environmental code; adoption; preparation of sewage disposal systems; enforcement of code

Section 13. The commissioner of the department of environmental protection shall adopt, and from time to time amend, regulations to be known as the state environmental code. Any violation of such code, (a) shall be punishable by a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars for each day that such violation occurs or continues, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment; or (b), shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars for each day that such violation occurs or continues. Said code shall become effective and have the force of law as provided in section six of chapter thirty A. Said code shall deal with matters affecting the environment and the well being of the public of the commonwealth over which the department takes cognizance and responsibility including, but not limited to, standards for the disposal of sewage. A duly registered sanitarian or a professional engineer registered in the commonwealth may prepare plans for subsurface systems for disposal of domestic sewage of not more than two thousand gallons per day. Any other plans for a sewage disposal system shall be prepared by a professional engineer registered in the commonwealth. The department shall not require an inspection of a system for the treatment and the disposal of sanitary sewage below the ground surface if the transfer is of residential real property, and is between the following relationships: (1) between current spouses; (2) between parents and their children; (3) between full siblings; and (4) where the grantor transfers the real property to be held in a revocable or irrevocable trust, where at least one of the designated beneficiaries is of the first degree of relationship to the grantor. Nothing contained in this code shall be in conflict with any general or special law. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, nothing in this section or in any rule or regulation shall prohibit the preparation of plans for the repair of subsurface systems for disposal of domestic sewage of not more than two thousand gallons per day by any agent of the owner thereof; provided, however, that such plans are reviewed and approved by the local health authority and by a licensed sanitarian.

With regard to the enforcement of this section, including requirements related to forms utilized by septic system inspectors or local boards of health, the commissioner shall evaluate practices, which would minimize the paperwork burden for individuals, small businesses, contractors, state and local governments and their agents, and strive to ensure the greatest possible public benefit from and maximize the utility of information collected, created, maintained, used, shared and disseminated by or for the purpose of the code and to reduce the number of copies required for official use.

For the purposes of this section, the term ''burden'' shall mean the time, effort or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain or provide information to or for a governmental agency, including the resources expended for: reviewing instructions; acquiring, installing and utilizing technology and systems; adjusting the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements; searching data sources; completing and reviewing the collection of information; and transmitting or otherwise disclosing the information.

Local boards of health shall enforce said code in the same manner in which local health rules and regulations are enforced but, if any such local boards fail after the lapse of a reasonable length of time to enforce the same, the department may in like manner enforce said code against any violator. The superior court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of said code and any actions brought to enforce said provisions shall be advanced for speedy trial.