I/A systems perform well when they are designed, installed, operated, and maintained in accordance with the technology specifications and MassDEP’s technology approval. However, I/A systems require a higher level of maintenance and are more expensive to operate and maintain than a conventional septic system. They can include pumps, aerators, fans and other mechanical parts, which increase the initial cost of the system and add costs for electricity to run the system.

If you own an I/A on-site system, you should know the kind of technology being used and keep good records on the system’s location. You also must follow the manufacturer’s specifications for operating the system, and be careful in using and discarding chemicals, such as disinfectants or paints that may harm the system.

If you are thinking of purchasing a previously-owned home that uses an I/A technology, you should get answers to the following questions from an on-site professional:

Don’t sign a purchase-and-sale agreement until you are fully informed about the type of I/A system in use on the property, as well as the related maintenance contract requirements, annual operating and energy costs, and maintenance history.

Operation & Maintenance (O&M)

Because I/A on-site systems are more complex than conventional septic tank systems, Title 5 has special requirements for their installation and maintenance (310 CMR 15.287):

Testing the Effluent

Systems located in nitrogen-sensitive areas may also require testing for Total Nitrogen (TN).

If test results demonstrate adequate performance for a reasonable period of time, MassDEP allows system owners to request a reduction in sampling frequency.

Repairing an I/A System

When an I/A system breaks down or fails, the owner must either repair or replace the failed component or system, just as with a conventional septic system. Options include:

Until a system is repaired or replaced, the Board of Health and/or MassDEP can order interim measures to protect public health and the environment.

Text courtesy MassDEP.