Betterments – North Attleborough




In cooperation with the Town’s financial management and revenue officials, the Board of Health issues these regulations to govem the program established by passage of article 37 of the October 1995 Annual Town Meeting, pursuant to its authority under Chapter 1 1 1, Section 3 1, of the Massachusetts General Laws and Chapter 1 1 1, Section 127B/2, of the Massachusetts General Laws.


Recent revisions to Title 5 of the State Environmental Code have focused public attention on septic systems and cesspools, and the financial hardships that can be associated with having them repaired or replaced. There are parts of North Attleborough that will never be sewered either because the terrain will not allow it or because homes are too few and far between to make sewers economically viable. When cesspools or septic systems fail in those neighborhoods, placing groundwater supplies and the health of townspeople at risk, town government has an obligation, within its available funds, to provide those homeowners who need financial help with the means to repair or replace their failing systems. These regulations provide the framework for that assistance to be provided.


The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation, implementation and enforcement of these regulations:

“Property owner” shall mean any person(s) who hold(s) title to residential real estate for which betterment funding is being sought under these regulations.

“Residential real estate” shall mean land and existing buildings used for human habitation. “System” shall mean a residential septic system or cesspool.

“Upgrade” shall mean repair or replacement of a failing system.


The following criteria shall be used to establish a property owner’s eligibility for betterment funding under these regulations:

(A) The system must have been designated a failed system by a Department of Environmental Protection-certified Title 5 system inspector.

(B) The system must have been determined by the Board of Health to be threatening public health, safety, welfare or the environment.

(C) The residential real estate must be an existing owner-occupied single-family or two-family home that is used for residential purposes only.

(D) The residential real estate must be located on a way that is neither currently served by a common sewer line nor likely to be included in any municipal sewer extension project within five (5) years.

(E) The property owner must not be delinquent on the payment of property taxes, excise taxes,

betterments or any other obligations to the Town of North Attleborough.

(F) The Board of Health will not consider betterment funding of a system upgrade that provides

additional wastewater treatment capacity sufficient to accommodate an expansion of the residential real estate beyond its current use.



(A) Applications for betterment funding of upgrades shall be accepted by the Board of Health twice annually, during the 30 days prior to January 15 and July 15, or at any time in the event of conditions that, in the judgment of the Board of Health, constitute an environmental or public health emergency.

(B) Property owners wishing to obtain betterment funding for system upgrades shall complete an

application form provided by the Board of Health, a copy of which is attached to these regulations and incorporated herein by reference. In addition to the application form, they must submit to the Board of Health evidence that their systems have been inspected and found to be failing.

(C) The Board of Health will determine the priority of need for betterment funding based on the

threat(s) posed to public health safety, welfare or the environment by each failing system for which upgrade assistance is being sought.

(D) le all prop owners meeting the criteria in Section 4 shall be eligible, available funding

may not be sufficient to meet the needs of all applicants. In that event, the Board of Health may require applicants to document financial hardships that would prevent them from undertaking the necessary upgrades without assistance from the Town. The Board of Health reserves the right to obtain a credit report on the applicants. The Board of Health is obligated to ensure the confidentiality of any financial information provided by the applicants or a credit reporting bureau.



(A) The Board of Health shall develop a scope of work and obtain cost estimates accordingly, for

each system upgrade approved for betterment funding. The Board of Health, in consultation with the Town Treasurer, will provide a written estimate of all costs to be levied against the property owner, including but not limited to engineering, design, construction, administrative, legal and other related costs, plus interest.

(B) Upon receipt of a signed cement from the property owner, including an approval of the cost

estimate, the Board of Health will vote the sum necessa from available funds.

(C) The property owner may rescind the Agreement for any reason within ten (1 0) days of the date it is received by the Board of Health. The rescission must be in writing.

(D) Upon approval of funding and expiration of the rescission period, the Board of Health or its

agent(s) will obtain bids in accordance with Chapter 30B of the Massachusetts General Laws, execute agreements with the necessary contractors, and monitor all system upgrade work performed on the premises of the residential real estate.

E) The Board of Health or its agent(s) shall, upon completion of all tasks specified in the scope of

work, inspect the upgraded system to certify its compliance with Title 5 of the State Environmental Code.

(F) Any costs associated with environmental remediation unrelated to the system or other ancillary work that may be required upon completion of the upgrade, including landscaping, shall be the sole responsibility of the property owner.


(A) Within six (6) months after construction is completed and the upgraded system is certified by

the Board of Health to be in compliance with Title 5 of the State Environmental Code, the total cost, not to exceed the amount stipulated in the Agreement, shall be assigned to the property owner and the time for repayment shall be specified. The property owner shall be personally liable for the repayment of the total cost.

(B) er the Board of Health certifies the total cost to the Board of sessors, the apportioned

assessment shall be committed to the Tax Collector. The Tax Collector may accept settlement in cash for the full amount within thirty (30) days. Otherwise, the Tax Collector shall bill the property owner for the total cost to be divided over a period of years, with interest to be computed as set forth in Chapter 1 1 1, Section 127B/2, of the Massachusetts General Laws. under five

thousand dollars ($5,000) and a maximum of 20 years for a project cost of five thousand dollars ($5,000)

or more.

(D) The Town shall have a lien to secure payment in the same manner as it acquires a lien for a

betterment assessment under Chapter 80 of the Massachusetts General Laws.



The Board of Health and its agent(s) or contractors may enter upon privately-owned property, with

reasonable notice and at reasonable hours, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with these regulations.



The Board of Health may vary the application of any provision of these regulations, unless otherwise

prohibited by law, in any case when, in the opinion of the Board of Health, enforcement will do manifest injustice. Every request for a variance shall be made in writing on a form provided by the Board of Healthand shall be subject to a public hearing before the Board of Health. The property owner must at his or her sole expense notify all abutters by certified mail at least ten days prior to the public hearing. Any variance granted by the Board of Health shall be in writing. Any denial of a variance by the Board of Health shall also be in writing and shall contain a brief statement of the reasons for the denial.


These regulations shall not be interpreted or construed to supersede or nullify the requirements of

any other applicable environmental or public health codes, regulations or statutes.


In the event that any provision of these regulations is declared invalid or unenforceable for any

reason, all other provisions will be unaffected and shall remain in full force and effect. To that end, the provisions of these regulations are hereby declared severable.



These regulations were approved by the Board of Health on December 7, 1995, at a legally posted meeting and shall take effect immediately upon publication of a summary of their provisions in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of North Attleborough. (Publication was made in the 1 1995, editions of The Free Press and The Sun Chronicle.) required by Chapter 1 1 1, Section 3 1, of the Massachusetts General Laws, an attested copy of these regulations has been filed with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Amendments may be made to these regulations by a majority vote of the Board of Health.

Amendments shall take effect upon their publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town ofNorth Attleborough.