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Home > Programs > Bureau of Environmental Protection > Office of Water Resources > Permitting > Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems > Cesspool Phaseout


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OWTS Cesspool Phaseout
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    Additional Information

A cesspool is any buried chamber (could be a metal tank, a perforated concrete vault, or a covered hollow or excavation) that receives sewage from a building for disposal into the ground. The Rhode Island Cesspool Act of 2007 (RIGL § 23-19.15) mandates that all cesspools located within 200 feet of the inland edge of the coastal shoreline feature bordering a tidal water area must be abandoned and the home upgraded with a new onsite wastewater treatment system or connected to available municipal sewer lines. The Act also requires cesspools located within 200 feet of public wells or within 200 feet of drinking water reservoirs to be replaced as above.

Cesspool Inspection and Replacement Timetable:
  • All cesspools within the 200 foot zones identified above will have to be inspected by January 1, 2012 or upon notice from DEM;
  • All cesspools within the 200 foot zones identified above that are found to be failed will need to be replaced within 1 year;
  • All cesspools within the 200 foot zones identified above that are found in already sewered areas will need to be hooked up to the sewer by January 1, 2014; and
  • All other cesspools within the 200 foot zones identified above will need to be replaced by January 1, 2014.
Background Information: Guidance and Forms:

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer
rev. 7/16/14