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Expanded Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Records Available

Offers property owners convenient access to critical permitting documents

PROVIDENCE The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has launched improved online access to onsite wastewater treatment system [OWTS] (or "septic system") records, making it easier for property owners to complete the permitting process and/or retrieve historical files. These new features eliminate the need for customers to visit DEM offices to access records in person.

The new online features include a downloadable Certificate of Conformance for OWTS permitted, installed and approved for use (or "conformed") after 1990. Also, the full content of DEM's files for OWTS conformed before 1990 previously stored on microfilm are now available online. Conformance is the final step in the OWTS permitting process and is required in order for a municipality to issue a certificate of occupancy for new construction or to complete an existing property transfer. Per Rhode Island law, OWTS cannot be used until a Certificate of Conformance is issued. Approximately 1,500 systems are conformed annually in Rhode Island.

More than 55,000 OWTS files for systems conformed before 1990, and more than 50,000 Certificates of Conformance for systems conformed after 1990 are now available online. Last year, more than 166,000 searches were conducted. In addition to these new online services, the DEM website also offers visitors the opportunity to complete a boat registration, apply for fishing licenses, conduct environmental site searches and much more. Visit for a complete list. Follow DEM on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.


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  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 06-26-2017

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