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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the Board of Health meet?
The Board of Health regularly meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00  PM. These dates may vary, depending on the commitments of the board members, but dates are posted in advance with the Town Clerk.

How can I appear in front of the board?

The Board of Health holds a public comment period at each meeting, and invites citizens who wish to provide feedback or information to the board to do so at that time.  If a substantial amount of time is desired, or you would like to have a discussion with board participation, please request time on the agenda contacting the Board of Health office at (508) 393-5009 or faxing an appointment request to 508-393-3130.

I am having a Title 5 Inspection on my property, what information do I need to obtain in order to complete the inspection?

The Title 5 Inspector will need a copy of the septic plans and permit if available.  In addition, if you have Town Water the Title 5 Inspector will need a copy of your latest water records.  If your house is served by a private well then the Title 5 Inspector will need to know the location of that well.

When is it necessary to upgrade a septic system for Board of Health Approval to obtain a building permit?
Any building project which will increase the design flow from a structure requires the siting and installation of a septic system sized to handle the design flow. An increase in the number of bedrooms above the number specified on the most recent septic permit automatically triggers an increase in design flow. An increase in the total room count may be allowed provided that the total room count does not exceed the maximum allowed under Title 5 Regulations.  Please note that a deed restriction may be required to assure compliance with Title 5.

What is the maximum number of total rooms that a structure may have based on the number of bedrooms specified on the septic permit?
The total number of rooms allowed for a given septic system without the need for a deed restriction is as follows:
3 Bedroom Permit a maximum of 7 rooms is allowed
4 Bedroom Permit a maximum of 9 rooms is allowed
5 Bedroom Permit a maximum of 11 rooms is allowed
6+ Bedroom (multiply # of permitted bedrooms by 2 and add 1)
A deed restriction may be appropriate in some instances.  Contact the Board of Health   if you would like more information as it relates to your specific property.

Does the Board of Health perform Title Five Inspections for homeowners?

No. Individual homeowners must hire their own licensed inspector.

What happens if my septic system fails inspection?
If the subsurface disposal system fails an inspection, the owner normally has up to two years in which to correct the problem. However, the Board of Health may require that    the owner address the problem within a shorter period should the failing system present a threat to the public health and the environment. If the property is sold, the new owner assumes responsibility for the failed septic system. The new owner may make an agreement with the town to connect to the municipal sewer system if available after taking ownership.

Can I sell my house if the septic system fails a Title Five Inspection?
Yes.  Any septic system deemed a failure by a licensed Title Five Inspector must be replaced within two years from the date of failure. If the property is sold, the new owner assumes responsibility for the failed septic system. The new owner may make an agreement with the town to connect to the municipal sewer system if available after taking ownership.

The house I am looking to buy passed a Title 5 Inspection.  Should I look at the inspection report?
Yes.  You should always read the entire Title 5 Inspection report to assure you have learned as much about the septic system as possible.  You will want to learn the approximate age of the septic system and see what condition the system components are in at the time of inspection.  You will also want to assure that there is not a garbage grinder attached to the system unless the system was designed for one.

Where can I find information regarding requirements for sewer connections?

The DPW regulates all sewer dealings through the Town of Northborough Sewer Commission.  Please see the DPW web page for more information regarding sewer connection.

Does the Town of Northborough license semi-public & public swimming pools?
Yes.  The Town of Northborough currently licenses three (3) semi-public/public swimming pools.  Inspections of each pool are conducted prior to opening each season.

Does the Town of Northborough license camps?

Yes. Your child's camp should have a permit given by the local Board of Health, which   carries out annual inspections at each camp to ensure compliance with the state code put forth by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Is the camp prepared to handle medical emergencies?
All camps are required to have at least one staff member available at all times to act as a medical supervisor. This person must be trained in first aid and CPR, and may be allowed with parental permission to give the child prescription drugs as necessary.        Each camp is also required to have a "medical consultant", either a doctor or nurse practitioner, who can provide guidance on specific medical issues when necessary. (The consultant is not necessarily a staff member, but a medical professional that has agreed to provide the camp with medical information and guidance as necessary).

How can I dispose of syringes?

Link to -Effective July 1, 2012, homesharps, as well as unopened packages of hypodermic needles and lancets, shall not be disposed of in solid municipal waste, including household waste, and shall be collected and disposed of in accordance with the requirements outlined in the amended regulations.

Will there be spraying for mosquitoes this year, when and where?  Can I request service at my house?

Mosquito control in Massachusetts operates under M.G.L. Ch. 252 (Improvement of Low Land & Swamps) and the State Reclamation & Mosquito Control Board. Other pertinent laws and regulations on mosquito control can be found here (.pdf)  The Town of Northborough is serviced by Central Mass. Mosquito Control.  If you would like to request service for your property the request can be made at  Central Mass. Mosquito Control provides the Northborough Health Department with a comprehensive list of addresses and areas in Town where mosquito spraying and collection are done.  If you would like to view this list please click here.

When and where will the flu clinic be this year?

The Health Department sponsors an annual influenza immunization clinic each fall. Yearly vaccinations are offered to all persons over the age of 65, or persons with special medical conditions (e.g., diabetes), and healthcare workers in the town.  Vaccines may also be offered to other persons depending on availability.  Please continue to check the Health Department web page for additional information as the fall approaches.

How does a food establishment obtain or renew a food permit?
Renewal forms are sent out to food establishments approximately one month before the expiration date or they can come into the office to renew in person.  New establishment owners should come into our office and pick up a packet that contains all the forms and information they will need to apply for a permit.

Are restaurant food handlers required to wear gloves?
The use of utensils by food handlers is preferred during the various stages of food preparation.  Food prep employees are required to wear gloves when handling ready-to-eat food products that may come in contact with their hands.  Disposable gloves must meet the same sanitary standards for hands as outlined in the State Sanitary Code 105 CMR 590.009 and .011, which covers employee cleanliness and employee hygiene.  Disposable gloves must not be used as a substitute for frequent hand washing. Staphylococcus aurous can accumulate as hands perspire, can multiply on hands that are encased in gloves.  If the gloves are ripped or puncture, foods may be contaminated with an even greater number of bacteria than is normally present on hands.  Food handlers should avoid the false sense of security that often is associated with the use of disposable gloves.

Are certain people more susceptible to food borne illness?
Yes. Children, the elderly, and immune compromised persons are more susceptible to food borne illness. For this reason, Northborough maintains a strong food safety program to protect both its residents and visitors to the Town.

What is the Medical Reserve Corps and how can I join?

The MRC is a volunteer group made up of both medical and non-medical persons who        are willing to help out in a public health emergency.~MRCs serve a critical function in communities, especially during emergencies when local resources may be quickly overwhelmed due to the scale and severity of the incident or disaster.  Please see the MRC link for more information.

I am a tenant, and I believe there are housing code violations in the apartment that I rent.  How do I set up a housing inspection?

As long as you are still living in the apartment you can contact the Health Department (508) 393-5009 and set up an inspection.   You may also wish to view frequently asked questions from the Housing Court.

What is Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing lead. Lead is especially dangerous for young children (defined as children six (6) years or younger). Lead can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and nervous system. Even low levels can slow a child's development and cause learning and behavior problems.

How can I have my home inspected for Lead?
Property owners can check the Yellow Pages phone book under "lead" or call the Massachusetts Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (800) 532-9571 to get a list of licensed lead inspectors. Owners can also get a list of licensed risk assessors who will test their property for lead and identify the urgent lead hazards that must be corrected for Interim Control. Tenants with children under age six can call their local Lead Poisoning Prevention Program or contact the Northborough Health Department and ask for a free lead inspection or determination.

How do I know if my child is Lead Poisoned?
A blood test is the only sure way to detect lead poisoning. There are often no pLE symptoms.

Northborough Town Hall  63 Main Street, Northborough, MA 01532
Hours -- Mon, Wed, Thu 8am-4pm  Tue 8am-7pm  Fri 7am-12pm