What are RI Towns Doing?
Block Island
South Kingstown

The BIGHP Project

RIWIS (Rhode Island Wastewater Information System)

Onsite Systems Basics
Onsite treatment systems
Property owner's guide

Wastewater Manager's Toolkit
Creating a management plan
Drafting an ordinance
Developing treatment standards
Funding and staffing a program
Getting the message out
Tracking inspections
Achieving results

Onsite System Research and Assessment
Demonstration systems
Soil suitability
Using GIS for evaluation
Water quality monitoring

Training and technical support

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Tracking Inspections



Innovative and Alternative onsite wastewater treatment technologies are being installed in most RI communities. Rhode Island communities that do not have an onsite wastewater management program, can begin by tracking operation and maintenance agreements and service events, as RIDEM specifies that this is a town responsibility. Ensuring that maintenance contracts for alternative systems are renewed regularly is particularly critical given increasing use of these systems on marginal sites. The availability of web-based onsite tracking programs allows municipalities the option of hiring a private consultant to monitor compliance with maintenance requirements, rather than relying on staff.


Step 1: Select Tracking Software

Selecting an adequate tracking program can greatly assist the Town in making sure O&M contracts are in place and service events are occurring when required. Web based tracking programs are becoming popular because they are often times less expensive than stand-alone software packages and most can notify the town when O&M contracts expire and when systems fall behind in service events. Web based programs are also a popular choice because they allow service providers to submit contract renewals and O&M events electronically, cutting back on the clerical duties of the town staff.

For more information about selecting a tracking program, click here!


Step 2: Compile A List Of All I&A Systems In The Town

RIDEM will submit the town with a list of all conformed I&A systems. The Town can keep the list accurate by adding new systems as they conform (the building inspector receives the certificate of conformance from RIDEM). We recommend that towns create a list of all conformed systems by technology.

The below table outlines the minimum information needed to track I&A systems.


Site ID Type of Technology Installed: Date Installed: Current Service Provider: # of Services Needed Per Year: Active O&M Contract?
(yes or no)
Previous Service Date: Next Service Date:

System in Compliance with Regulations?
(yes or no)


Step 3: Contact Manufactures

Most manufactures and local distributors keep good records of their clients and can easily supply the town with necessary information. Manufactures understand that proper O&M keeps their technology working as designed and they are eager to comply with State and Town requirements.


Step 4: Certify Maintenance Providers

The University of Rhode Island offers a two-day O&M course with exam. This intensive course provides service providers with valuable information on operating and maintaining all RI approved I&A technologies. In addition to this class, most manufactures also offer O&M training for their particular technology. Towns should require that service providers submit proof of certification and insurance. It is a good idea to develop a service provider application and then publish a list of Town Approved service providers. Click here to download a Sample Service Provider Application.

Step 5: Notify Homeowners Who Do Not Have Current Maintenance Contract

If a property owner is listed in the database as having an I&A system but they are not on any service providers client list they should receive a letter from the town asking that they contract with a Town Approved service provider and submit an active O&M contract within 45 days of the notice. Click here for a sample notice to mail to homeowners.


Step 6: Enforcement

Annual O&M is required by RIDEM as part of I&A system approval. The Town should notify the state as soon as properties are reported as being non-compliant. Town’s may also choose to adopt a wastewater management ordinance, which will grant them the ability to issue notices of violation and monetary penalties to non-compliant property owners.






Copyright 2006 URI Water Quality Program