If you are planning on
Selling Developed Waterfront Real Estate in New Hampshire
the law states that you are required to have a licensed sewage disposal system designer prepare a
Site Assessment Study
Relevant Law: RSA 4:40-a, 485-A:2, 485-A:39.
Prior to executing a purchase and sale agreement for any "developed waterfront property" using a septic disposal system, an owner shall, at his expense, engage a permitted subsurface sewer or waste disposal system designer to perform an on-site assessment study.
"Developed waterfront property" means any parcel of land which is contiguous to or within 200 feet of a great pond as defined in RSA 4:40-a and upon which stands a structure suitable for either seasonal or year-round human occupancy. A great pond is defined in RSA 4:40 as "... a public water body of more than 10 acres." (Note that a site assessment study must be conducted whenever any part of the property is within 200 feet of the great pond, not merely when the structure or the septic disposal system is within 200 feet of the water.)
The site assessment study is a report prepared by a DES-permitted septic system designer that you as the seller hire to determine if your site meets the current standards for septic disposal systems established by DES.
The assessment originally had been required prior to listing or offering the waterfront property for sale, but effective January 1, 1993, it will be required prior to executing a purchase and sale agreement and must include an on-site inspection. The Site Assessment form may be found in the Appendix Section of Administrative Rules Env-Ws 1000 or may be obtained from DES' Subsurface Systems Bureau.
485-A:39 Waterfront Property Sale; Site Assessment Study. –
I. Prior to the execution of a purchase and sale agreement for any developed waterfront property using a septic disposal system, the owner of the property shall, at his expense, engage a permitted subsurface sewer or waste disposal system designer to perform a site assessment study to determine if the site meets the current standards for septic disposal systems established by the department.
The site assessment study shall include an on-site inspection.
II. The site assessment study form shall become a part of the purchase and sale agreement.
III. The site assessment study form, with stated findings, shall be given to the buyer and receipt of the form shall be acknowledged in writing by the buyer.
IV. Failure of the seller or the seller's agent to notify the buyer of the findings or deliver approved plans of the septic disposal system pursuant to paragraph III of this section shall be a violation and, notwithstanding RSA 651:2, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
V. The site assessment study shall consist of 3 sections:
(a) Section A shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the seller and the seller's agent and the location and a brief description of the property, including the tax map reference and lot number.
(b) Section B shall include the lot size, slope, loading (based on the number of bedrooms in the structure), water source, soil type, and estimated seasonal high water table information from U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service maps. A space shall be included on the form for the permitted designer to write his assessment of the site for the current use of the system, based upon the criteria and information required in this subparagraph.
(c) Section C shall include information about the present septic disposal system, if available. If the installed system was approved by the department, a copy of the approval form, approval number and plan shall be attached to the site assessment study.
An assessment indicating that the site fails to meet any of the criteria established under this section shall not prohibit the sale of the property but must be disclosed to the buyer as full and proper notice of the possible limitations of the site for a septic disposal system.
VI. The department shall design the site assessment form pursuant to paragraph V of this section. The commissioner shall adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A relative to the procedures for the availability and distribution of the form to interested parties.
Relevant Adm. Rule: Env-Ws 102
PART Env-Ws 1025 WATERFRONT PROPERTY SITE ASSESSMENT STUDY
Env-Ws 1025.01 Conduct of Site Assessment. Pursuant to RSA 485-A:39, prior to the execution of a purchase and sale agreement for any developed waterfront property the owner shall have a site assessment study performed, which shall include an on-site inspection. The assessment shall be documented by completion of a "Site Assessment Form" by a permitted designer.
Env-Ws 1025.02 Assessors. All site assessment studies shall be conducted by a septic system designer permitted pursuant to RSA 485-A:35, I. If the design flow of the system existing on the site to be assessed is greater than 2500 GPD, the assessor shall also be a civil or sanitary engineer licensed in the state of New Hampshire.
Env-Ws 1025.03 Site Assessment Form. Copies of the blank site assessment form may be obtained upon request to the public information and permitting office of the department.
Env-Ws 1025.04 Form. A permitted designer shall fill out a site assessment form with the following information:
(a) The name, address, and telephone number of the current owner of the property;
(b) The name, address, and telephone number of the seller's agent;
(c) The name, address, telephone number, and permit number of the designer who is conducting the site assessment study;
(d) The location of the lot, including the city or town in which the property is located, the tax map and lot number, street address, and subdivision name;
(e) A brief description of the property and any structures thereon, including the number of bedrooms;
(f) The name(s) and mailing address(es) of abutters to the property, if known;
(g) The lot size in square feet;
(h) The slope of the lot;
(i) The loading capacity of the lot, calculated based on lot size, slope and soil type;
(j) The type of water supply to the lot;
(k) The soil type from U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service maps or actual data, if available;
(l) The estimated seasonal high water table from U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service maps or actual data, if available;
(m) Identification of plans and other written materials reviewed and the date of the on-site investigation;
(n) The assessor's opinion as to whether the site can support a system meeting current specifications for the existing structure;
(o) Whether the property currently has any sewage disposal system; and
(p) Whether the existing system is state approved.
Env-Ws 1025.05 Attachments to the Site Assessment Form.
(a) If the system is state approved, the approval number and a copy of the approved plan, construction approval and operational approval shall be attached to the original of the form by the permitted designer.
(b) If the system is not state approved, the owner shall provide all available information on the type, capacity, age and location of the system.
(c) Whether the system is state approved or not, a site assessment sketch shall be attached to and made part of the site assessment form.
Env-Ws 1025.06 Site Assessment Sketch. The site assessment sketch shall be an 8-1/2" X 11" sketch to scale or with dimensions shown of the property and the location of the system, approximate property lines and approximate locations of abutters' septic systems and wells with 75' well radius, if known. Such sketches shall not be deemed to be a precise survey of the property.
Env-Ws 1025.07 Site Assessment Study Updates.
(a) For a subsequent sale of a developed waterfront property for which a site assessment study has been conducted for a previous sale and upon which no change in the information required by Env-Ws 1025.04(d), (e), (g) through (l), or (n) through (p) has occurred, the property owner and assessor may certify that no change in the information required has occurred in lieu of conducting a new site assessment.
(b) The updated certification shall be attached to the original site assessment study, if available, or to a copy of the original site assessment study, and the updated site assessment study shall be made available to prospective buyers of the property in the same manner as original site assessment studies.
(c) The update to the site assessment study shall contain the following information:
(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the current owner of the property;
(2) The name, address, and telephone number of the seller's agent;
(3) The name, address, telephone number, and permit number of the designer who is conducting the site assessment study; and
(4) The name(s) and mailing address(es) of abutters to the property, if known;
(d) The buyers shall agree to and sign the following statement on the update to the Site Assessment Form at the time of the closing:
The undersigned certifies/y that I/we have reviewed this Site Assessment Form and understand the information contained herein and that I/we have received a copy of this Site Assessment Form.
Env-Ws 1025.08 Buyers' Signature Required. The buyers shall agree to and sign the following statement on the "Site Assessment Form" at the time of the closing: The undersigned certifies/y that I/we have reviewed this Site Assessment Form and understand the information contained herein and that I/we have received a copy of this Site Assessment Form.
For More Information Contact:
NH Department of Environmental Services
Subsurface Systems Bureau
PO Box 95
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03302-0095
Telephone: (603) 271-3501
Fax: (603) 271-6683