The Program

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1/3 of Tiverton
Total geographical area affected by sewer construction.
Affected Area

The existing and proposed sewer district consists of only about 1/3 of the total area in town. Most of town, will continue to rely on On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) more commonly known as septic systems. Modern OWTS work very well even in poor soil conditions such as exist in Tiverton, however, it is critical to monitor and maintain an OWTS to insure that neither the ground water nor surface water becomes contaminated.

On-site Wastewater Management

An On-site Wastewater Management Program was adopted in July 2006 to insure that our precious water resources do not become contaminated from failing OWTS. For those readers who want to learn more about the program, you can view the On-site Wastewater Management Plan which was approved by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management last year as well as the On-site Wastewater Management Ordinance which was adopted by the Town Council in July 2006.

“Onsite Wastewater Management” Documents

System Diagram

For more information about your particular septic system, visit
Septic tank, distribution box, and leaching field.
Septic tank, distribution box, and leaching field. (Courtesy of National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Assoc.)

Watershed Notices


The reminder letters requiring property owners to have their septic systems inspected by an Approved Septic System Inspector were mailed on April 20, 2017. If you received a letter, you should have your inspection completed by June 30, 2017.

If you have not had your inspection yet, please make every effort to have it performed as soon as possible.

By now, all inspections should have been completed in these watersheds. The letters going out are reminding property owners the importance of regular scheduled maintenance of their On Site Wastewater System. If you receive a reminder letter, please understand the importance to your property and the environment, your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Failure to comply will result in punitive action including fines.

Inspection Info

The Staff

Many of our wastewater inspectors are also installers and designers, so rest assured they know septic systems.
All of Our Inspectors Have…
  • Completed the RI Septic System Inspector’s course.
  • Passed the certification exam.
  • Submitted proof of insurance.
  • Been instructed to perform exactly the same inspection.

The Process

Inspections will enable us to gather important septic system information and establish an inspection & pump-out schedule.
What to Expect
The inspections will require each inspector to file a report directly into the Town’s online reporting and tracking software, so we can better understand and manage the septic systems. To learn more about your system and what to expect from inspection and pump-out, view one of the following PDF’s.

“What to Expect” Documents:

Inspection & Maintenance Schedule

In accordance with the On-Site Ordinance, all properties within the Town that rely on a septic system must have it inspected and placed on a mandatory maintenance schedule (TBD).

Properties with Cesspools

Phase Out All Cesspools

Our goal is to eventually phase out all cesspools. Cesspools are a sub-standard method of treating your wastewater. (Per zoning ordinance, all cesspools within the Stafford Pond Watershed should have been upgraded by the end of December 2005.)

Upgrade Certain Cesspools

There are 3 triggers that will require a property owner to upgrade a cesspool:

Trigger 1
System Fails Inspection
Critical resource areas inspected first.
Within 1 Year
Trigger 2
200 Feet from Critical Resource
E.g. Shoreline, public drinking water supply, wellhead.
Upgrade Date
January 1, 2014
Trigger 3
Commercial & Industrial
Includes large residential properties.
Upgrade Date
January 1, 2014
Functioning Cesspools

These will be put on an annual schedule of inspection and pumpout. Conventional septic systems will be put on an inspection and pumpout schedule based on the individual usage. Inspection and pumpout schedules may range from as much as annual to as little as once every 5 years.

Additional Resources

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