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Yes. All properties served by on-site wastewater treatment systems are subject to the ordinance, and compliance is mandatory. In this case an inspection, which is less costly, may be the appropriate course of action.
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The North Kingstown Wastewater Management District Ordinance (NKRO Chapter 8, Article VIII.) was adopted by the North Kingstown Town Council in1999.
The Ordinance was designed specifically to protect public health and the environment. In particular, the vital groundwater aquifers that provide us with our drinking water, Narragansett Bay and its many coves and harbors, as well as the numerous surface water bodies, lakes, and ponds that dot the landscape in town. Additionally, the ordinance is protective of the large financial investment represented in a properly functioning septic system. North Kingstown was divided into risk-based districts in order to make the process more manageable. You can learn more about these districts on the NK Water Department page within the Town website.
About a year and a half ago, North Kingstown began using the Rhode Island Wastewater Information System program (RIWIS). The program was developed by Carmody Management Services, working along with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the University of Rhode Island, and a number of Rhode Island communities.
The RIWIS program allows the member communities to track septic system maintenance and inform their residents regarding their septic systems using a web-based database. It is through this new database that the postcards are generated.
The ordinance requires property owners to have their septic systems inspected once every three years and pumped when the volume of solids in the septic tank reaches 50%. Inspections must be performed by a 2023 Town-approved Inspector (PDF).
The Town will accept proof of septic system pump-out in lieu of an inspection, and pump-out can be done by anyone in the business.
Technically, if you have not had your system inspected or pumped within the last three years, you are not in compliance with the Ordinance and may be subject to a fine.
The Town understands that this may be new information to many property owners and is not, at this time, intent on imposing fines. Please comply as soon as you possibly can!
A new pump-out and / or inspection will need to be performed three years from the date of the last one(s).
An inspection, as defined in the ordinance, consists of a visual survey of the system components, focusing on obvious problems or deficiencies, and a measurement of the septic tank contents to determine if and when pumping is needed.
Town approved inspectors are required to take specific inspector training courses offered by the University of Rhode Island and pass a test as proof of competence. Additionally, they are required to carry liability insurance to protect both the property owners and the Town of North Kingstown. Download the list of inspectors (PDF), or we can mail you a copy. Please call the Water Department at 401-268-1521 to have one mailed to you.
The ordinance places that responsibility specifically upon the property owner. Some pump-out firms will do this as a courtesy if asked. However, the responsibility to provide proof of compliance still remains the property owner.
The ordinance allows for a daily fine of up to $500.
In such situations it is acceptable to hold off until the ground thaws. However, the work should be accomplished as soon as it is feasible.
Yes, all properties served by on-site wastewater treatment systems are covered by the ordinance, therefore, compliance is mandatory. In this case an inspection, which is less costly, may be the appropriate course of action.
Because there are many variables that can affect cost, it is impossible to answer this question exactly. At this time (as of March, 2009) the costs for a pump-out begin at $190 to $200 dollars for a 1,000 gallontank, and the costs for an inspection range from $75 to $100 dollars. It is appropriate and advisable to call around for estimates of cost.