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Pass the Septic Tax Credit!

This letter was sent on July 11 to Representatives Michlewitz, Cusack and Soter and Senators Rodrigues, Moran and Tarr:

We, the 36 undersigned, are writing regarding H.3770/S.2406, An Act to improve the Commonwealth’s competitiveness, affordability, and equity currently before this conference committee.

We ask for inclusion of Sections 10-14 of S.2046 in the conference committee’s final report, language amending the current septic system tax credit. This language will increase the current septic system tax credit, mitigating the cost to homeowners who replace their failed cesspool or septic systems with a system consistent with the current State Environmental Code. The proposed increase in the credit reflects the increase in septic system design and installation costs since the current statute was enacted nearly 30 years ago. The Senate version (Sections 10-14, inclusive, of S. 2406) builds upon similar language included in the Governor’s tax relief package.

As leading environmental organizations and municipal public health agencies concerned for the health of Massachusetts’ waters, we know that properly functioning septic systems are essential to the quality of communities’ drinking water, to swimmable, fishable rivers, streams, ponds, bays and oceans, and to the health of entire watersheds. Many communities across the Commonwealth – particularly the more rural and less densely developed communities – rely on septic systems, rather than sewers, to treat their waste water. In the 25+ years since the current septic tax credit was adopted, the cost of fixing failed systems has increased dramatically, while the current credit is subject to limitations that are no longer appropriate.

Here is a summary of the language in Senate Bill 2406, Sections 10-14 . . . changes to the current septic system tax credit, Chapter 62, Section 6(i):

  • Increases the % of design and construction cost for upgrades or replacements of failed cesspools and other septic systems eligible for the credit from 40% to 60%;

  • Deletes the current statute’s reference to the 1995 Title 5 regulations and inserts “the State Environmental Code;”

  • Increases the maximum system upgrade cost eligible for a rebate from $15,000 to $30,000;

  • Increases the maximum annual credit from $1,500 to $4,000; and

  • Increases the maximum amount of credit carryover over a 5-year period from $6,000 to $18,000.

We ask for the inclusion of Sections 10 -14 of S.2406 in the conference committee’s report of H.3770/S.2406, An Act to improve the Commonwealth’s competitiveness, affordability, and equity.

Sincerely yours,

Deborah Weaver, Executive Director

Westport River Watershed Alliance

Mark Rasmussen, President

Buzzards Bay Coalition

Richard Delaney, Executive Director

Center for Coastal Studies

Bradley Campbell, President

Conservation Law Foundation

Jen Ryan, Deputy Director of Advocacy

Charles River Watershed Association

Ron Rhodes, Interim Executive Director

Connecticut River Conservancy

Jen Mergel, James & Audrey Foster Executive Director

Esplanade Association

Aimee Petras, Executive Director

Farmington River Watershed Association

Brian Yellen, President

Fort River Watershed Association

Eric Grunebaum, Director/Cofounder

Friends of Jerry’s Pond (Cambridge)

Karen Buck, President

Friends of the Malden River

Mike Yeomans, President

Greater Boston Trout Unlimited

Lynn Werner, Executive Director

Housatonic Valley Association

Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director

Ipswich River Watershed Association

Pine duBois, Executive Director Jones River Watershed Association

Sam Anderson, Director of Legislative and Government Affairs

Mass Audubon

Julia Blatt, Executive Director

Massachusetts Rivers Alliance

Ivan Ussach, Director

Millers River Watershed Council

Caroline Reeves, Co-Founder

Muddy Water Initiative

Patrick Herron, Executive Director

Mystic River Watershed Association

Kerry Malloy Snyder, JD, Advocacy Director

Neponset River Watershed Association

Alison Field-Juma, Executive Director


Rob Moir, PhD, Executive Director

Ocean River Institute, Inc.

Kate McPherson, Narragansett Bay Riverkeeper

Save The Bay

Tom Bell, Presiden

Straits Pond Watershed Association

Anne Slugg, Chair and Sudbury Representative

Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River Stewardship Council

Joseph Callahan, President

Taunton River Watershed Alliance

Steve Long, Director of Policy and Partnerships

The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

Linda Orel, Sr. Director of Government Relations

The Trustees of Reservations

Keven Desmarais, Health Agent

Town of Freetown

Edward Cullen, Health Agent

Town of Lakeville

Lori Desmarais, Director of Public Health

Town of Marion

Gail Joseph, Health Agent

Town of Mattapoisett

Karen Walega, Health Director

Town of Rochester

Matthew Armendo, Director, Board of Health

Town of Westport

Lundy Bancroft

Western Massachusetts Rights of Nature


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