I/A Monitoring and Compliance Program

Verifying Real World System Performance

A (Very) Brief History

As Advanced Onsite Septic Systems began to proliferate on Cape Cod in the early 2000's, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment identified the need to be able to verify the performance claims being made by technology distributors to homeowners and town Health Departments.  A new program was envisioned that would not only collect the data needed to check the veracity of these claims, but would also provide a direct benefit to the towns of Cape Cod.

In 2005, the I/A (Innovative/Alternative) Septic System tracking database was created using funds from US EPA to collect inspection and monitoring records from system operators electronically. The program is now financed through user fees to offset administrative costs.

Since its inception, the database has had more towns join its efforts, including three additional counties. To date, there are more than 2800 active permits being tracked. Currently there are also more than 25,000 sample reports and more than 40,000 inspection reports that have been submitted by operators.


Community Participants

  • Barnstable County
    • Barnstable
    • Bourne
    • Brewster
    • Chatham
    • Dennis
    • Eastham
    • Falmouth
    • Harwich
    • Mashpee
    • Orleans
    • Provincetown
    • Sandwich
    • Truro
    • Wellfleet
    • Yarmouth
  • Dukes County
    • Chilmark
    • Edgartown
    • Oak Bluffs
    • Tisbury/Vineyard Haven
    • West Tisbury
  • Nantucket County
    • Nantucket
  • Plymouth County
    • Wareham

What We Do

To join the program, a town passes a regulation requiring operators of I/A septic systems, who report to the Local Approving Authority and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, to submit the results of their site visits via the Barnstable County septic database (usually within 15-30 days). This database has built-in capabilities to analyze data in real-time and to send alerts to homeowners with user accounts alerting them of issues with late reports.

Additionally, this database tracks the Operation and Maintenance agreements between homeowners and operators to periodically sample and inspect their I/A septic systems. Automatic alerts warn Barnstable County personnel of canceled or expired contracts so that swift action can be taken.

Town regulators, operators, and homeowners can all access this database; the information visibility varies depending on the user. Regulators can create permits for new systems as they come in and view all notes and correspondences as between the homeowner and Barnstable County personnel. Operators can see the sampling and inspection requirements for new clients and submit their own findings. Homeowners can see system performance. Parts of the septic database are readily available to anyone who wants to learn more about I/A septic systems or see the overall performance of systems on Cape Cod.


Where can I learn more about this program?

You can visit the specific website for this program at https://septic.barnstablecountyhealth.org/

You can also contact us:

Emily Michele Olmsted
Environmental Project Assistant
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment