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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Subsurface Systems Bureau
Subdivision Approval

NHDES must review all applications and plans for subdivisions, and issue an “Approval for Subdivision” before any structures from which wastewater will be discharged are built or before other site alteration activity specific to the proposed subdivision commences. In addition, subdivided lots or units may not be sold, leased or rented until NHDES issues an Approval.

The subdivision of real property requires a review by NHDES to ensure that each resulting parcel or unit supports the long-term wastewater absorption requirements without causing environmental damage, overload, or a public health risk.

Pursuant to RSA 485-A:29, I, Water Pollution and Waste Disposal/Submission and Approval of Plans and Specifications, NHDES regulates the subdivision of land into two or more lots if the proposed lots will not be served by municipal sewers and one (or more) of the proposed lots is less than five acres. Subdivision approval is required for lots under 5 acres, leased land, campgrounds and condominium creation; for both residential and commercial developments where septic systems are, or will be used.

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

Subdivision ApplicationMicrosoft Word Symbol

$300 per lot.

Processing Time
30 calendar days for review.

The Approval does not expire; unless modifications or amendments are made to the original plans (see below).

If significant changes in the scope or design of the project occur after approval has been issued or if the lots are further subdivided, application must be made to request a new Approval for Subdivision.

Although not required, a Transfer of Ownership ApplicationMicrosoft Word Symbolwill serve to properly transfer the Approval for Subdivision to another party.

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

Status of Current Applications
Application, Designer, and Installer Search

More Information
Local Subdivision Requirements: Many municipalities also have local subdivision requirements that must be met in addition to the State requirement; contact the municipality in which the subdivision is located.

Proposals for subdivisions which might at any time include more than 15 lots must be registered with, and approved by, the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau of the NH Department of Justice. A similar registration and review by the NHDOJ must occur when more than 10 condominium units are to be established or sold.

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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