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Environmental Health


Public health regulations help to ensure the health of our community.  To enforce these regulations, our Environmental Health staff provide the following services.

Septic system inspection and approval

The purpose of a home's subsurface sewage disposal system (septic system) is to dispose of the waste water generated by the occupants in such a manner that the soils on the property can disperse it without causing an adverse effect on groundwater and in turn on public health and the environment. The vast majority of homes in Chatham Health District (CHD) rely on on-site sewage disposal systems.


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CHD is responsible for:

  • Issuing permits for all activities related to the construction or repair of any subsurface sewage disposal system.

  • Investigating any complaints related to failing septic systems.

  • Reviewing and approving plans for septic systems.

  • Conducting soil testing evaluations and percolation tests to assure site suitability.

  • Retaining records for all new and repaired septic systems including as-built drawings.

  • Assuring that any construction activities, or change in use of the property, does not adversely impact the on-site septic system or reduce potential repair area.


Homeowners, or their representatives (contractors), who rely on subsurface sewage disposal are required to contact CHD to obtain a permit if they are:

  • Altering or repairing any part of a subsurface sewage disposal system.

  • Constructing a new system.

  • Planning to construct an addition, accessory structure (decks, etc.) or outbuildings.

  • Planning on increasing the number of bedrooms.

  • Planning to install a swimming pool.

  • Approval is needed from CHD before a building permit can be obtained. If you have any questions or comments, please contact a District Sanitarian. You can view the subsurface sewage disposal technical standards on the State Department of Public Health’s website.


Ground Water Monitoring
CHD may require groundwater monitoring on any site where there is reason to believe that maximum groundwater is less than 36” below grade. In general, if there is any question that groundwater is less than 18” from the ground surface for a month or more of the year, monitoring will be required to document suitability.

Soils Testing
Soil testing for new lots generally consists of at least four deep test holes, approximately seven feet deep. This allows for a good interpretive reading of the different soil layers to determine if any limiting factors, such as groundwater, ledge, excessive slope, or soil compaction exist. Percolation tests are smaller and shallower holes which help us to determine how quickly the soil accepts water. Along with the proposed use of the structure, soil testing gives us the ability to properly size and locate a septic system.

If public sewers are not available, new lots will require soil testing to assure that the soils are suitable for the proposed development. A proper site assessment is an important first step to avoid expensive installation of public sewers. All deep test holes are observed by a representative of the Chatham Health District to determine site limitations. When properly designed, septic systems provide a safe and efficient means of treating sewage.

For proposed building additions, if soil testing is not on file, soil testing is mandatory to determine site suitability. The intent of this requirement is to prevent expansion of buildings if the land is not capable of supporting the addition.

Any questions regarding soil testing, whether you wish to schedule testing or need help interpreting the results can be directed to any of the offices the Chatham Health District maintains.

Well and water quality monitoring


Well testing requirements have changed. Effective October 1, 2022, Connecticut Public Act 22-58 changed the requirements for testing, reporting, and storing information regarding laboratory testing of private and semipublic drinking water wells. The act requires testing of new wells for lead, arsenic and uranium in addition to basic indicators previously required. 




Private Wells
The vast majority of homes in Chatham Health District rely on private wells. Private (domestic) wells are not currently regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) therefore private well owners are primarily responsible for the maintenance of their water system and testing for the quality of their own drinking water.

CHD has regulatory authority within member towns over private wells with regard to several important activities. CHD issues new and repair well permits. Private wells must be properly sited consistent with the Public Health Code and approved before being constructed. Completed wells must be properly yield tested and a report filed with CHD. Testing of the water quality is also required when done as part of a permit, or as a property transfer. All new sources must be approved before use. Water quality reports are received and reviewed with any health related items identified.


District staff are available to assist private water supply owners with water quantity and quality problems.


Submit the application and and pay for your well permit here.


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Report damage from sodium chloride run-off.


Public Water Systems

The Connecticut Department of Public Health Drinking Water Section provides routine Water Quality Monitoring Schedules to assist owners and operators of Public Water Systems (PWS) in maintaining compliance with water quality monitoring requirements.

View Water Quality Monitoring Schedules by town and system type:

Recreational bathing water quality monitoring

We want to ensure that your day at the beach doesn’t result in illness related to poor water quality. At least once a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day, our Environmental Health staff inspect designated public bathing areas. Water samples are tested at the CT Public Health Laboratory for E.coli at 6 locations.  Visual observations are documented for cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) at locations known to be at high risk for harmful blooms. We follow the Guidelines for Monitoring Swimming Water and Closure from CT Department of Health and CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to determine if and when a swimming area needs to be closed.   

Testing results are only posted from Memorial Day through Labor Day  


CHD is responsible for licensing and inspection of hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and cosmetology shops. 

You can read the Chatham Health District Cosmetology Regulations here:

New salon owners are required to submit a plan review.


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Apply for your license online:


 You will need to create an account.


Click to apply online. 





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State statutes and regulations:

Click to request and pay for an inspection. 



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Housing Code Enforcemnt

Housing Code Enforcement

File a complaint. 



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Public Pools

State Statutes:

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Food Protection

Our Environmental Health staff are also responsible for ensuring that food service establishments in our district comply with applicable regulations.  Visit our Food Protection page for more information:

Lead Poisoning Investigation

Our Lead Poisoning Prevention and Investigation Program is a collaboration between our Community Health Program and our Environmental Health Program.  Read more HERE:

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