Your help is needed to keep strong septic rules in the shoreland zone!

January 7, 2023

The following is an important message from our partner, Maine Lakes:

As the legislative session gets started this month, we know there are several bills up for consideration that will protect lakes and lake habitat, including bills to reduce near-shore wakes, allocate dollars to the Lake Protection Fund, and reduce risks of invasive species spread. We will need help from lake advocates like you to get these bills through the legislature.

Right now, we need your voice to be heard on a critical change to subsurface wastewater disposal rules proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The rule change would allow first-time septic systems to be placed on otherwise unsuitable soils if the landowner brings in fill and waits for 20 years, or the lot was filled more than 20 years ago. This change would be bad for lakes. It would allow many lots within the shoreland zone with poor soils that are currently undevelopable to be open for development.

Submit comments on the DHHS website HERE or email your comments to Andrew Hardy before January 13th to speak up against this rule change.

Sample Message:

You can copy and paste the message below or write your own note. It does not have to be lengthy or overly detailed. Share in your own words that you want to keep Maine’s lakes clean and healthy and that this rule change for septic systems puts clean lakes at risk. If you’d like to read Maine Lakes letter in opposition, click HERE.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to oppose amendments to 10-144 CMR Chapter 241, Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules. Specifically, I am urging the Department to keep existing soil suitability standards within the shoreland zone for first time septic systems in place in order to protect our valuable and vulnerable lakes and ponds.

A small amount of fill, big enough to install a septic system, will not make a lot poorly suited for development become more suitable. The system as well as the associated development that comes with it (like roads, driveways, and roofs) will result in increased stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the primary means for excess phosphorus, a nutrient that feeds unhealthy algae blooms and degrades water quality, to reach our lakes and ponds.

Expanding septic systems, and the development that comes with it, on sites with unsuitable soils will pose an unacceptable risk to lake water quality and wildlife habitat.

I urge you to delete this standard revision from the proposed rule changes and keep the requirement that fill material in the shoreland zone must have been placed before 1974 to be considered for a first-time septic system.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this proposal.

Your Name
Your Town

For more information:

Read the summary on the CDC’s rulemaking webpage HERE. For full text of the rule change, click on “Proposed Rule 10-144 CMR Ch 241” and view page 41.

The contact for the filing is Andrew Hardy, (207) 287-4490,

To submit your comments:

Submit comments directly from the CDC webpage HERE.
Or you can email comments directly to Andrew Hardy,

Photo Credit: Josh Robbins (Banner)