SCWIP Phase 1: Septic Team

Septic System Maintenance and Repair Team Deliverables

For photos of Septic Team events, visit the Protect Kittery Waters photo site at


Bacterial contamination (fecal coliform) is a documented problem in the Spruce Creek Watershed. The primary source of this contamination is likely private septic system failures.

The Septic System Maintenance and Repair Team’s focus will be two-fold: first, to create and implement an educational program for homeowners on septic system maintenance and upkeep, second, the team will be responsible for helping to identify priority septic systems (those with failing and antiquated septic systems) to propose for replacement funded by Maine DEP grants.

The Septic Team will employ a public outreach approach modeled on the successful Washington Sea Grant Septic Social Program. This team will be responsible for adapting this existing program’s materials to the Spruce Creek Watershed, and conducting three septic socials in hot spot neighborhoods (some of which have already been identified). Hot spot neighborhoods are those associated with bacterial contamination in the Creek.

Priority septic systems will be identified by the Team through site inspection, review of Town and DEP records, and analysis utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data layers and aerial photography of the watershed. Working with the homeowners, the appropriate sites will be nominated for replacement through the Maine DEP.

Grant Funding $7,885
Match $5,250
Total Cost $13,135

Grant funding includes approximately 110 hours for a technical advisor from YCSWCD and 40 hours for the grant manager. Funding will also cover travel expenses and $500 in supplies. There is also $1,000 for design and production of informational materials. The match for the grant includes volunteer and Town board participation in the activities, some travel time, and approximately $1,000 for supplies. Additionally $600 is included as an in-kind match from donated printing services.

Responsibilities include:

  • Working with SCA and Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to identify hot spot neighborhoods
  • Working with information from current Kittery Shellfish Conservation Commission project to identify optical brighteners and “triangulate” potential priority septic system sites
  • Obtaining DEP records on licensed Overboard Discharges (OBDs) wastewater systems
  • Working with Kittery Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) and Tax Assessor to review old paper tax records to identify previously licensed OBDs
  • Coordinating with Resources Team to identify potential sponsors and incentives for Septic Social attendeees
  • Holding three septic socials in three separate neighborhoods that have evidence of failing septic systems in coordination with the Community Outreach Team
  • Developing a septic system factsheet (in coordination with the Community Outreach Team) to be distributed at each social (based on recent research by the Town of York, DEP materials already available, and State regulations), that outlines mechanisms for reducing septic system failures including frequent pump outs
  • Providing information to residents to help upgrade or replace malfunctioning septic systems
  • As appropriate, help homeowners obtain financial assistance from the Maine DEP Small Community Grants Program or the “MaineHousing” Home Improvement Assistance Program

Septic System Team Activity Dates & Commitments

Task Estimated Date(s)
First Steering Team & Project Launch Meeting June 23, 2008
Septic Team Launch Meeting July 23, 2008
Review Washington Sea Grant Septic Social Program and determine how it can be adapted to the town of Kittery. July 2008
Develop Septic System Fact Sheet (based on Town of York flyer). Fact sheet to be reviewed and approved by team as well as other appropriate individuals July – August 2008
Work with Resources Team to make arrangement for printing of fact sheets August 2008
Work with Resources Team to identify possible commercial sponsors August 2008
Hold 3 septic socials in coordination with the Public Outreach Team

  • Identify appropriate neighborhoods
  • Recruit a homeowner to hold the social at their residence
  • Set dates for septic socials and send invitations to appropriate home owners
  • Coordinate with Community Outreach Team to promote Septic Socials
  • Coordinate with Technical Advisors to identify professional to attend socials
  • Arrange for refreshments at Septic Socials
  • Conduct informational social
September 2008 – March 2009
Identify Septic Systems in need of repair

  • Review tax records with Town Code Enforcement Officer assistance
  • Review MDEP Overboard Discharge (OBD) licenses
  • Create list of potential sites
  • Contact homeowners and conduct site inspections
  • Arrange for Septic System Dye tests as appropriate
  • Develop list of final sites
July 2008 – February 2009
As appropriate, assist homeowners in obtaining funding through MDEP Small Community Grants Program or the Maine Housing Home Improvement Assistance Program Spring & Summer 2009
Coordinate with Community Outreach Team to draft project press releases Summer 2009


Septic System Team Members, Project Partners, & Advisors

The following are team leaders and members, as well as any technical advisors for this team.

Team Members Organization/Affiliation
Will Brewster SCA
Richard Chiango SCA
Dan Clapp Kittery Shellfish Conservation Commission
Ken Lemont Kittery Shellfish Conservation Commission
Emily Maxfield Resident
John Robinson SCA
Peter Walsh Resident
Technical Advisor Organization/Affiliation
Heather Ross & Shelly Bishop Code Enforcement, Town of Kittery
  Code Enforcement Officer, Town of Eliot
  Septic Technical Advisor
  Maine Department of Marine Resources
Project Partners       Organization/Affiliation
  Tax Assessor, Town of Kittery
  Shellfish Conservation Commission, Town of Kittery
  Conservation Commission, Town of Kittery
  Conservation Commission, Town of Eliot
  Maine DEP
  Maine DMR
  Maine State Housing Authority