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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Subsurface Systems Bureau
Septic Systems: Approval for Operation

Once an approved septic system is installed, NHDES will inspect the newly-constructed system. The septic system must be installed by an individual permitted to do so by NHDES, unless an individual homeowner does the work for his/her own home. Prior to using a septic system, both an Approval for Construction and an Approval for Operation must be obtained.

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 NHDES inspector will inspect the newly-constructed septic system and evaluate the system to ensure that it has been installed in accordance with the intent of the approved plan. Once the inspector has determined that the system meets all applicable requirements, a written Approval for Septic System Operation will be completed, with a copy provided to the owner, municipality, and NHDES.

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

There is no application form, however, a written request for inspection must be made from the installer (or owner if it is a homeowner installation).

There is no fee for an Approval for Operation.

Processing Time
NHDES will inspect the newly-installed system within seven business days after receipt of a written request for inspection from the installer (or owner if it is a homeowner installation).

There is no expiration date for operation approvals.

NHDES must review and approve amended and revised plans prior to issuing an Approval for Operation. Please see the fact sheet Amended/Revised Plans for Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

A Transfer of Ownership ApplicationMicrosoft Word Symbolis available when the property changes ownership.

Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the Subsurface Systems Bureau can appeal to the Water Council in accordance with RSA 485-A:40.

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.



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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

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