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Massachusetts recently promulgated new on-site sewage regulations requiring training and examination of soil evaluators. These individuals are responsible for determining the suitability of proposed sites for on-site subsurface sewage disposal systems. The University of Massachusetts, in cooperation with the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service, developed a soil evaluator training course and examination. Course topics include principles of on-site sewage treatment and groundwater hydrology, soil descriptions, geology and soils of Massachusetts, and estimating seasonal high water using standard methodologies. Since the Fall of 1994, we have trained over 1,300 persons, of which 1,200 passed the mandatory written and field examination. State regulatory personnel, engineers-in-training, and professional engineers scored the highest on the written tests. Seventy-two percent of the participants passed both the written and field examinations the first time. Upon retesting, over 91 % of all participants eventually qualified for listing as a soil evaluator.
site suitability assessment, site evaluation, soil limitations, septic systems, regulations, training, on-site sewage disposal
Professor of Soil Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Soil Scientist, U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service, West Wareham, MA