Environmental Review (MAHB Model) – Plainville

adopted by Plainville Board of Health


These regulations are intended to protect the public and environmental health, provide adequate water supply and wastewater treatment, and ensure that there will be adequate protection against flooding, siltation, and other drainage problems.

These regulations are also intended to make certain that earth removal projects will (a). maintain a depth to groundwater which is adequate for the construction of subsurface wastewater disposal systems under both local regulations and the State Environmental Code and (b). not be injurious to water supply and (c). will be carried out so as to provide adequate protection against flooding, siltation, and other drainage problems.



The activities listed below shall not be conducted without an Environmental Health Permit from the Board of Health under these regulations:

4.11 Any use requiring a special permit and/or site plan approval under the Town of [ ] zoning [or planning] bylaw;

4.12 The construction, extension or alteration of any structure requiring a special permit and/or site plan approval under the zoning bylaw.

4.13 Any activity defined as a noisome trade under this or any other regulation of the board of health. An environmental Health Permit shall operate as a site assignment for the purposes of any activity so designated. ( See Section II Definitions : Noisome Trades )

4.14 In addition to the activities listed in 4.11 – 4.13, applicants for definitive plan approval shall be required to comply with the application requirements and performance standards in this section as a condition of Board of Health approval under the Subdivision Control Law.



The following projects whall require the submittal of an Environmental Health Impact Report (EHIR) to the Board of Health:

4.20.1 Ten (10) or more dwelling units, whether in a subdivision or on an approved roadway;


4.20.2 Any commercial or industrial development with a gross floor area exceeding 7500 square feet;


4.20.3 A design sewage flow of 4400 gallons per day or greater,


4.20.4 Any Planned Unit Development(PUD),


4.20.5 Any earth removal project exceeding 350 cubic yards of material per lot, or 1000 cubic yards of material per project.


4.21 The EHIR shall meet the criteria required by this and all other applicable Board of Health regulations, and shall provide specific information relative to the operation of the proposed sewage treatment and disposal systems, including soil conditions, surface drainage calculations, hydrogeologic descriptions of groundwater resources and movement, effects of precipitation, and wastewater treatment methodology. The applicant shall also estimate the impact of the project on public and private water supply sources.


4.22 Environmental Health Permit


The applicant for any project which meets the criteria stated above shall be required to obtain an ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERMIT from the Board of Health.


4.23 All Other Projects

All other projects within the jurisdiction of the Board of Health and which require approval from the Board of Health shall be required to meet the standards and criteria which are set forth in Sections 4.3, 4.5 and 4.6.


4.24 Burden of proof

Any applicant required to file an EHIR with the Board shall have the burden of proving by submission of clear and convincing evidence that the proposed work shall not have unacceptable, significant individual or cumulative effect upon the public or environmental health.


4.25 Applications for permits


4.25.1 General: The following materials shall constitute an application for an Environmental Health Permit under these regulations: The application to the special permit granting authority, or, in the case of site plan or definitive plan approval, to the Planning Board; If no application to the special permit granting authority or to the Planning Board is required, a complete application form as set forth in the Appendix; An Environmental Health Impact Report which shall include narrative and plans conforming to the requirements of Section 4.66 of this regulation.


4.25.2 Other applications: The Board may, in appropriate cases, accept as part of the application and plans under this regulation, the following filings to other municipal boards or commissions: Notice of Intent filed with the Conservation Commission Building Permit application filed with the Building Inspector. Earth Removal Permit application filed with the Special Permit Granting Authority. Preliminary and Definitive Plans and Planned Unit Development applications filed with the Planning Board.


4.26 In such case, additional information shall be required when applicable to provide the complete submittal requirements of this regulation.


4.27 Fees : At the time of application or request to the Board, the applicant shall pay a filing fee as may be set from time to time by the Board. In addition to the filing fee, the Board may require the applicant to pay reasonable costs and expenses borne by the Board of Health as provided in Section II of this regulation. Said payment can be required at any point in the deliberations prior to a final decision being rendered.


4.28 Water supply : The proposed source of water supply shall provide water of a quantity and quality in accordance with Town, State, and Federal water supply standards for domestic use. In the case of sites to be served by on-site wells, a hydrogeological evaluation showing ground water flow directions and the proposed placement of wells and septic systems. Zones of Contribution to wells shall be delineated except for the following: Single or Two Family Dwellings; Single Family residential subdivisions; or Projects where the required well yield is 1375 gallons per day or less. This evaluation shall be performed by a qualified engineer or geologist, at the expense of the applicant, to be reviewed by the Board of Health for this determination.


4.29 Sewage disposal: The applicant shall submit evidence that:


4.29.1. The proposed location of the project has soil conditions suitable for the subsurface disposal of sanitary or other applicable types of wastewaters in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Health along with all applicable state and federal regulations.


4.29.2 Wastewater disposal shall meet the strictest minimum standards of current Commonwealth of Massachusetts or Federal regulations of surface or ground waters.


4.29.3 For any subdivision having ten (10) or more dwelling lots or any project having a minimum design wastewater flow of 4400 gallons per day, a hydrogeological evaluation shall be performed by a qualified engineer or geologist, at the expense of the applicant, to be reviewed by the Board of Health for this determination.


4.29.4 Hydrogeological evaluations shall include determination of geologic stratigraphy, determination of ground water flow directions, determination of maximum ground water elevation, determination of minimum groundwater elevation when relevant, evaluation of water table mounding, and prediction of downgradient water quality impacts. Maximum ground water elevation shall be determined by direct observation during the season of the year when the water table is high as determined by the Board and as adjusted by the method described in “U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Investigations, Open File Report 80-1205 – Probable High Groundwater Levels in Massachusetts”, or subsequent revisions thereof.




4.31 Septic tanks serving any commercial or industrial facility shall have the contents of the septic tank serving the facility sampled and tested on an annual basis for volatile organic compounds (EPA 624) AND pH, as well as any other parameters required by the Board of Health on a case by case basis. The sampling shall be performed and the results submitted to the Board of Health without having to be requested. The sample shall be taken in the time period of March, April, or May of each year and the results submitted to the Board of Health prior to July 1st.


4.32 All floor drains, except as serving only sanitary facilities, shall be discharged to a tight collection tank and taken away by a licensed waste hauler. Such floor drains shall not be discharged to a septic system, storm drain, dry well, or other surface or subsurface discharge point.


4.33 The Board of Health may, on a case by case basis, require that each tenant of a multi-use facility shall have a separate discharge point to the septic system. Each such discharge shall be equipped with a flow meter. Where water usage records will accurately reflect the wastewater discharge, a water usage meter may be acceptable. Otherwise, it will be required to install an effluent or discharge meter.


4.34 Applicants for facilities subject to this regulation which require Board of Health project evaluation shall complete the Board of Health “OPERATIONS INFORMATION QUESTIONNAIRE” which is available from the Board of Health office.


4.35 All facilities which store, use, manufacture, or discharge any materials, compounds, or chemicals which are on the Massachusetts Substance List shall file a contingency plan with the Board of health. It shall be updated on an annual basis or when any changes are made in such items.





All projects subject to these regulations shall include a storm water and runoff management plan that conforms to the requirements of this section.


4.51 The storm water management design shall include a control strategy and plan for Source Control and Best Management Practice (BMP) for any particular development or project and shallaccomplish the following goals.


4.51.1 Reproduce, as nearly as possible, the hydrological conditions in the ground and surface waters prior to development.


4.51.2 Reduce storm water pollution to the “Maximum Extent Possible” (MEP) using Best Management Practices (BMPs).


4.51.3 Have an acceptable future maintenance burden.


4.51.4 Have a neutral effect on the natural and human environment.


4.51.5 Be appropriate for the site, given physical restraints.


4.51.6 Provide a sufficient level of health and environmental protection during the construction phase.


4.52 An acceptable storm water management plan shall


4.52.1 Capture and treat the “FIRST FLUSH” of storm, usually the runoff from the first 2 inches of precipitation for a small land area or other value as may be designated by the Board of Health.


4.52.2. Not cause an increase or decrease in either the total volume of runoff discharged offsite, or total rate of runoff discharged offsite, as compared with the respective discharge offsite prior to the development. Such condition shall be required for storms of 1, 10, 50, and 100 year frequency events.


4.52.3 Include source controls and design of BMPs and Infiltration and Detention structures in accordance with procedures acceptable to the Board of Health such as are described in the following publications: “Controlling Urban Runoff – A Practical Manual for Planning and Designing urban BMP’s – Department of Environmental Programs – Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments” “Storm Water Detention for Drainage, Water Quality, and CSO Management” – Peter Stahre and Ben Urbonas – Prentice Hall -1990 ASCE Publications entitled “Design of Urban Runoff Quality Controls”, 1988 and “Urban Runoff Quality – Impact and Quality Enhancement Technology”, 1986 “Urban Surface Water Management” – Stuart G. Walesh – John Wiley & Sons Inc. – 1989 “Underground Disposal of Storm Water Runoff – Design Guidelines Manual” February 1980 of the Federal Highway Administration – Department of Transportation “Erosion and Sediment Control in Site Development- Massachusetts Conservation Guide – Volume 1”.

4.53 In cases where runoff infiltration cannot, in the opinion of the Board of Health, be appropriately implemented because of the possibility of contamination of water supply, or because of extremely poor infiltrative and permeability characteristics of the soil, the requirement as regards volume may be waived by the Board of Health, provided the applicant provides such additional preventive measures to prevent any increase in elevation or duration of downstream flood elevations. Such additional measures may be, but are not restricted to, the construction of compensatory flood storage facilities and/or the creation of

additional wetlands.


4.54 Poor infiltrative and permeability conditions are defined as a soil permeability of less than 1 X 10 -4 centimeters per second. Unless, in the opinion of the Board of Health, such testing is not applicable for a particular site, all permeability tests shall be in-situ field bore hole tests for permeabilities in the acceptable range as specified above. If permeabilitytesting is desired to be performed in soils of lesser permeability, laboratory tests for hydraulic conductivity shall be performed on undisturbed samples by the Falling Head Permeability Test using flexible membrane triaxial test cells with back pressure (Army Corps of Engineering Manual EM 1110-2-1906 Appendix VII).


4.55 If detention or retention ponds are utilized, slopes shall be no steeper than 4 horizontal to 1 vertical. Maximum design water depth shall not exceed three (3) feet except in permanent ponds. Minimum bottom slope for “dry” detention areas shall be two (2) percent. A safety bench, a minimum of 10 feet wide shall be provided. Detention or retention areas shall not be constructed within existing stream bed or wetland areas.


4.56 Not result in channelization of surface runoff offsite without the written consent of the owner of the land affected, in the form of a permanent grant of easement, recorded at the Registry of Deeds.


4.57 Include hydrologic and hydraulic calculations and data to support the proposed design for the runoff drainage system. Both volume and flow rate of runoff, before and after development, must be clearly stated and shall be in accordance with the specifications previously designated herein. Calculations shall be performed using the most recent procedures of the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service such as are described in National Engineering handbook-Section 4-Hydrology (SCS 1985)., TR-20 “Computer Program for Project Formulation-Hydrology” (SCS 1983), and Technical Release No. 55 “Urban Hydrology for Small Watersheds” (SCS 1986). Structure design shall comply with the standards of USDA SCS Publication TR-60 for containments for detention and retention areas or other designated references. Additional design guidelines may be on file with the Board of Health.




4.61 Submittal Requirements:

Plans for any proposed earth removal operation exceeding 350 cubic yards of material per lot or 1000 cubic yards per project, shall be filed with the Board of Health and shall contain the following information and meet the following criteria:

4.61.1. An EARTH REMOVAL RESTORATION PLAN, prepared by a Registered Engineer or Registered Land Surveyor, at a scale of eighty feet to the inch or larger, containing all information necessary to

evaluate the site, the proposed earth removal operation, and the proposed restoration of the site after the operation is complete, including the following:


4.61.2 Location of the perimeter of the proposed excavation,


4.61.3 Property lines, abutting owners of record, and buildings or other structures on the property or within two hundred feet of the site boundaries or within five hundred feet of the earth removal operation site,



4.61.4. Private wells within 1000 feet and public wells within 2640 feet of the earth removal operation site,


4.61.5. Location of walls, fences, test pits, test borings, observation wells with logs, streams and pools, and wetlands on the site,


4.61.6 At least three permanent bench marks, with elevations thereon, used in topographical surveying, and referenced to the N.G.V.D. datum,


4.61.7. Adjacent public streets, private ways, and service roads,


4.61.8. The perimeter and topography of any existing excavation as of the date of the application,


4.61.9. Depth of removal within the area, shown by five foot contours or other contour interval found to be appropriate by the Board, and final spot elevations,


4.61.10 Proposed lateral support to all adjacent property,


4.61.11 Proper provision for safe and adequate water supply and sanitary sewage disposal, and for temporary and permanent drainage on the site,


4.61.12 Topography shown by five foot contours or other contour interval found to be appropriate by the Board, and spot elevations of the area of removal as restored and to at least two

hundred feet beyond the perimeter of that area,


4.61.13 The location and method to be used in providing permanent drainage and erosion and sediment control,


4.61.14 Location of proposed lot lines, if any, as shown on a preliminary or definitive subdivision plan filed with the Planning Board of the Town.


4.61.15 . Evidence that health and safety concerns have been adequately addressed with provisions which shall be maintained throughout the proposed operation.


4.62 Design Standards


4.62.1 . In order to provide for potential subsurface sewage disposal systems, no excavation shall occur closer than ten feet from the maximum groundwater elevation, as determined by the procedure described in Section 4.29.3 of this regulation.


4.62.2 There shall be no increase or decrease of surface water flow off the site,

4.62.3 There shall be no potential adverse effect on public health or safety, or the health or safety of persons living, working, or otherwise present in the neighborhood, due to excessive noise, dust, or any other condition which may result from the proposed operation,


4.62.4 There shall be no potential adverse impact on surface waters, public or private wells, as a result of the proposed operation,


4.62.5. Lateral support shall be maintained for all adjacent properties, and no banks shall be left after completion of operations with a slope which exceeds one foot vertical rise in four feet of horizontal distance,


4.62.6 Any access to an excavated area or areas shall be adequately posted with “Keep Out” “Danger” signs,


4.62.7. During operations, any excavation, quarry, bank, or work face having a depth of ten feet or more and/or creating a slope of more than thirty degrees downward shall be fenced. Such fence shall be located ten feet or more from the upper edge of the excavation and shall be at least six feet in height,


4.62.8. No boulders in excess of a volume of 20 cubic yards and no trees or stumps or demolition or construction waste materials shall be buried on-site.


4.62.9 Notwithstanding any standard otherwise required in this regulation, the operation and restoration shall comply with the standards contained in the Massachusetts Conservation Guide, Volumes I and II, United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.


4.62.10 At the time of restoration,the areas subject to this regulation shall be covered with a minimum or four inches of compacted topsoil and seeded with an appropriate grass or legume.


4.63 EHIR Scope and General Submittal Requirements

Plans submitted pursuant to this regulation shall include but not be limited to the following.


4.63.1 Proposed Source of Water Supply


4.63.2 Data for a sufficient number of test holes, soil logs, maximum ground water elevations, and properly conducted percolation tests to: Demonstrate clearly that the soil conditions are generally suitable for subsurface sewage disposal and will meet the needs of the project. In the case of a subdivision, each and every lot shall be shown to be suitable for such purpose. To determine the pattern of ground water flow. A topographical map of the property, with contours referring to Mean Sea Level, showing the location and elevation of all test holes, how the surface drainage is to be handled, including nearby affected areas, and all pertinent physical features, including ponds, swamps, wetlands, water supplies, seasonal watercourses, swales, areas of ledge and rock. Also, where ever applicable, an overlay of Flood Plain, Drainage Watershed areas, USDA Soil Map Characterization for soil type and hydrologic group, USDA Soil Limitations for Septic Tank Sewage Disposal, and Aquifer Designation. Sufficient data to demonstrate no deleterious individual or cumulative impact of subsurface sewage disposal upon groundwater quality. Failure to do so may result in findings by the Board of Health that such affected lots cannot be used for building sites without injury to the public health. Hydrologic and hydraulic calculations and data to support the proposed design for the strorm water and runoff drainage system. Evidence to demonstrate clearly to the Board of Health thatwater supply shall be adequate as previously designated herein. Evidence to demonstrate clearly to the Board of Health that the effect on ground and surface waters shall be in accordance with the specifications previously designated herein. In order for a plan subject to these regulations to be considered “complete”, it shall include all items required by these regulations, including an appropriate fee which may be set from time to time by the Board of Health. Incomplete submittals shall be returned as incomplete forthwith to the applicant, following a vote of disapproval by the Board of Health, without review. The plan must then be resubmitted and be subject to Board of Health review to demonstrate that it meets all Board of Health requirements before it shall be considered approved. Failure to submit adequate or correct data or information as required will constitute grounds for Board of Health denial of the permit for the project site as a whole or of individual lots or portions therein.




No well permits or Disposal Works Construction Permits shall be granted for any project subject to this regulation until the Board has issued the Environmental Health Permit.




Prior to granting a permit under these regulations, the Board shall make findings with supporting documentation. The Board may issue the Environmental Health Permit, based on the review of theimpacts of the project documentation as specified in this regulation, if said Board finds that the proposed project will comply with all of the standards of this regulation.




SECTION IV -EHIR Regulation was prepared by William R. Domey P.E., Consulting Engineer and member of MAHB Technical Advisory Committee, and Marcia Benes, Executive Director, MAHB, with legal review and assistance from J. Raymond Miyares, Esq., Gregor McGregor, Esq., and George A. Hall Jr, Esq. It has been adopted in several communities, including Plainville and Millis.