The Wastewater Management Plan and the Wastewater Ordinance were passed by the Town Council on September 21, 2015.
- MOA between the Town of Portsmouth and RI DEM (approved by the Town Council on October 27, 2014)
- On-Site Wastewater Management Plan With Maps
- Wastewater Management District Ordinance
- RIDEM Design Guidelines
WHO CAN INSPECT? ONLY THE INSPECTORS ON THE LIST LINKED BELOW MAY FILE
List of Inspectors
REPORTS THAT COMPLY WITH THE INSPECTION PROGRAM. REPORTS PREPARED BY INSPECTORS NOT ON THIS LIST WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
WHO CAN PUMP?List of Permitted Septage Transporters
MapsWastewater Management District 1
Wastewater Management District 2
Wastewater Management District 3
Island Park/Portsmouth Park Inspection Schedule
Island Park - Storm Drains and Coastal Buffer
Portsmouth Park - Storm Drains and Coastal Buffer
Town of Portsmouth Inspection Schedule
Outdated cesspools and failing septic systems are a major source of pollution in Portsmouth, resulting in closed shell fishing areas and elevated counts of bacteria at bathing beaches. The Portsmouth Wastewater Ordinance went into effect on September 21, 2015. The major requirements are as follows:
FIRST MAINTENANCE INSPECTIONS– Beginning in Portsmouth Park and Island Park in 2015 – (these areas to be completed by July 1, 2017). All systems townwide to have a First Maintenance Inspection by December 31, 2022 (link to inspection schedule above).
First Maintenance Inspections (FMIs) and pump outs are required for all Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems upon notification by the town. If you receive a letter requiring a FMI and you have had an inspection performed in the previous year, simply file that inspection report with the town – to fulfill this requirement. All FMIs will have to be completed within 60 days of notification.
Alternative/Experimental OWTS will not be required to have FMIs – only proof of a maintenance contract and annual servicing.
PORTSMOUTH WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTSFirst Maintenance Inspections will begin in the Portsmouth Park and Island Park neighborhoods, as mandated by RIDEM. Inspections in these two neighborhoods are due to be completed by July 1, 2017. Approximately 1000 inspections will take place per year. Septic systems in the entire town are due to be completed by 2022.
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE INSPECTIONSRoutine Maintenance Inspections (RMIs) will be required for OWTS based on the following schedule (after the FMI).
- Conventional = 5 years (Include pump out if sludge/scum is > 25 percent of the depth of the tank)
- Cesspools and unpermitted systems = 2 years plus pump out
- Holding Tanks = 1 year plus pump out
CESSPOOLS AND UNPERMITTED SYSTEMS (No RIDEM Permit)All cesspools and unpermitted systems within 50 feet of a storm drain will have to removed by January 2020 or within one year of the point of sale
All cesspools and unpermitted systems in Portsmouth will have to be removed by January 2025.
All failed systems will have to be replaced immediately. Homeowners will have to apply to RIDEM for a new system within 60 days.
Functional inspections including a flow trial and possibly dye tracing may be required at the discretion of the inspector. These inspections will also be required for the following:
- Cesspool/unpermitted systems within 50 feet of storm drain
- Cesspools/unpermitted systems within 200 feet of coast
- At the point of sale
Community Septic System Loan Program (CSSLP) is administered through Rhode Island Housing and provides low interest loans to Portsmouth residential property owners for cesspool/septic system replacements and septic system repairs. Eligible homeowners can borrow up to $30,000 over 10 years at a 1 percent interest rate. This program is up and running.
Church Community Housing Corporation has low interest loan programs for septic system and other home repairs. Details are available at the links below:
Grants for cesspool and failed septic system replacement are also being offered through Church Community Housing. These grants are made possible through American Rescue Plan Act funding and will be first come, first served and only while the allocated funds last. Grants may be for partial amounts or full system replacement, dependent on demonstrated need. HUD family income limits and other guidelines apply - not all applicants will qualify.
- First Maintenance Inspection
- Routine Maintenance Inspection
- Septic Tank Pump Out
- Extend the Life of Your Septic System
- What’s In Your Backyard
- Access Risers, Effluent Screens, & Two Compartment Tanks