New ME Law Requires Septic System Inspections for Lakefront Properties Starting in 2020

EPA Sample Septic SystemBeginning on January 1, 2020, home buyers in Maine will be required to complete septic system inspections before the purchase of lakefront and riverfront homes and camps. The new law, LD 216 was signed on April 22, 2019 and extends existing laws that require home buyers of coastal shoreland properties to complete septic system inspections prior completing the purchase.

Supporters, including the WLA, believe the law will help in detecting and repairing faulty septic systems that leak pollutants into adjacent lakes and streams. The law should also help ensure home buyers are aware of potentially costly repairs before a sale is completed.

LD 216 states that “If the inspection finds that the system is malfunctioning, the system must be repaired or replaced within one year after transfer of the property.” The law also notes that in some cases an inspection may not be needed for recently installed/inspected systems.

Always check with your real estate agent and/or lawyer for how this and other laws impact your specific home buying/selling situation. Even if not selling your property, it makes sense to have your system cleaned about every three to five years.

Click or touch here to read the full text of LD 216. The law is summarized by the State of Maine as “This bill extends to inland shoreland areas the requirement that subsurface wastewater disposal systems on property located within a shoreland area be inspected prior to a sale of the property. Currently, that inspection requirement applies only to the sale of property located within a coastal shoreland area.”