News and Press


All News


More Tweets

Permits/Licenses
Boating/Fishing/Hunting
Freshwater Wetlands
Septic (ISDS/OWTS) Systems Permits
Septic (ISDS/OWTS) Licenses
All Other Water Permits
Underground Storage Tanks
Aboveground Storage Tank Registration
Stormwater Permitting Info
Air Pollution Control Preconstruction Permits
Air Pollution Control Operating Permits
Permitted Waste Transporters
Online Services
Boat Registration Renewal
Recreational Freshwater Fishing Licenses
Recreational Saltwater Fishing Licenses
Marine Fisheries License Renewals
Septic (OWTS) Permit Search After 1990
Septic (OWTS) Permit Search Before 1990
Wetlands Permit Search
Multi-Sector General Permit Search
Non-Contact Cooling Water Permit Search
Remediation General Permit Search
UST Registration Renewal
Hazardous Waste Transporter Permit Renewals
Medical Waste Generator Registration
Agriculture Product Permit Renewals
Other Resources
Request a File Review
Permit Application Center
Application Forms
Rules and Regulations

OWTS Cesspool Phaseout

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 ยง 23-19.15), as amended in 2015, mandates that all cesspools within the state must, over time, be removed from service. The structure served by the cesspool must either be upgraded to a new OWTS or connected to a sewer line if one is available. The timeline for cesspool removal is as follows:

  • If a property is subject to sale or transfer, the cesspool must be removed from service within one year of the closing date;
  • If a cesspool is failed, the cesspool must be replaced within 1 year of the failure, or less if an imminent threat to public health is identified;
  • If a cesspool serves a non-residential facility serving more than 20 people per day, or any multifamily dwelling, the cesspool must be replaced as required under current DEM and EPA regulations;
  • If a cesspool is located within one of the three areas described below, the cesspool must be replaced immediately:
    • Within 200 feet of the inland edge of all shoreline features bordering tidal water areas (i.e., Coastal Resources Management Council’s jurisdiction);
    • Within 200 feet of any public wells; or
    • Within 200 feet of a water body with an intake for a drinking water supply.
 

The deadline for replacing cesspools located within these 200-foot zones was January 1, 2014 and all remaining cesspools in these areas are in violation of the Cesspool Act.

 

Background Information:

 

Guidance and Forms: