Moving To Massachusetts? Here's Everything You Need To Know About Title V Septic Inspections

In the United States, each state has different rules and regulations surrounding the installation and use of single-family home septic systems. For example, in California, you are required to pump and inspect a septic system prior to selling your home. In Massachusetts, a Title V inspection and certification are required in order to close the sale of a property.

Title V Property Listings

As a homebuyer, when you see property listings in Massachusetts labeled "Title V," this simply means the property has a septic system rather than a connection to a municipal sewage system. The label is a signal to real estate professionals and buyers that a Title V inspection certificate will be required at closing.

Understanding The Title V Septic System Inspection Process

If you are planning to buy a single-family home in Massachusetts, then it is vital you have a thorough understanding of the Title V septic inspection and certification process. Title V inspections must be completed by a plumber or septic system professional who has been licensed by the state of Massachusetts specifically to perform this type of inspection. 

To accurately inspect the septic system, it will first need to be pumped out. Once clean, the inspector will visually inspect the septic tank for cracks or excessive wear that could cause it to leak raw sewage and contaminate the ground.

After the tank has been inspected, a small fiberoptic camera will be inserted into each of the plumbing lines leading into and out of the tank. The lines are inspected for breaks or damage most often caused by ground shifting or tree root invasion.

Before closing up the septic tank and reburying the lid, the tank will first be filled with water. This final step ensures the leach field is draining as expected. If the water just sits in the tank, then this is a sign of leach field failure.

Other Times a Title V Inspection Is Required

Should you purchase a home in Massachusetts, it's important to note there are other times you will be required to get a Title V certificate. They include:

  • any remodeling project changing the square footage or footprint of the home
  • anytime a parcel of land is divided
  • anytime two or more parcels are combined

Additionally, if there have been many inspections failed in the area you live, then the local public health department can require inspections of surrounding properties. If this happens, as the homeowner, you will be expected to pay the bill.