skip navigation
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Subsurface Systems Bureau
Septic Systems: Approval for Construction

The NHDES Subsurface Systems Bureau must review the design plans and specifications for proposed septic systems to ensure the proper siting, construction and operation of the systems. Once design plans have been approved by NHDES and, if required, the municipality, NHDES will issue an Approval for Septic System Construction. Prior to using a septic system, both an Approval for Construction and an Approval for Operation must be obtained. Plans for proposed septic systems must be designed, prepared and submitted by an individual authorized by NHDES, except if an individual homeowner does the work for his/her own home.

To prevent pollution of all public or private water supplies, whether underground or surface sources. Subsurface sewage disposal (septic systems) must be designed, installed, operated, and maintained properly to ensure adequate protection of public health and the environment.

A sewage or wastewater disposal system is required for any structure from which wastewater will be discharged and to which a water supply is or will be connected. An Approval must also be obtained prior to converting a structure from seasonal to full-time occupancy, increasing the load on the existing septic system and/or commencing any additions to the structure; replacement, expansion or relocation of the structure, subject to the requirements of RSA 485-A:38, II-a (WD-SSB-5 Clarification of Regulation Requirements for New Construction & Expansion of Existing Buildings Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol).

Statute and Administrative Rules
RSA 485-A:29-44 Water Pollution And Waste Disposal/Sewage Disposal Systems
Env-Wq 1000 Subdivision and Individual Sewage Disposal System Design Rules

Individual Sewage Disposal System ApplicationMicrosoft Word Symbol

$300 per individual sewage disposal system.

Processing Time
15 business days to review an individual sewage disposal application.

The approval for Individual Sewage Disposal Systems is valid for four years from the date of issuance and 90 days for failed system replacement. If construction has not been initiated within four years from the date of issuance, the Approval for Construction is deemed to have expired and a new Approval for Construction must be obtained.

NHDES must review and approve any amendment or revision made to the original plans. See Amended/Revised Plans for Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol(Fact Sheet WD-SSB-3) for details.

When the property changes ownership, a Transfer of Ownership ApplicationMicrosoft Word Symbolmust be filed.

If any person submitting plans and specifications to the Subsurface Systems Bureau for its approval is aggrieved or dissatisfied with its decision, a motion for reconsideration may be filed within 20 days of the decision, in accordance with RSA 485-A:40. Within 30 days of the date of the decision on such reconsideration, the applicant may appeal by petition to the superior court.

Status of Current Applications
Application, Designer, and Installer Search

More Information
The List of Permitted Designers and Installers is available on the NHDES OneStop database.

Contact Us
Subsurface Systems Bureau website or (603) 271-3501.



Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol Adobe Acrobat Reader format. Download a free reader from Adobe.

Microsoft Word SymbolMicrosoft Word format: free viewer instructions from Microsoft.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire