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Septic Smart Week

Wednesday September 11, 2019

Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in kicking off its seventh annual Septic Smart Week (September 16-20) to encourage homeowners and communities to properly maintain their septic systems.

“This is a great reminder to think about the water and septic systems in your own home,” says Paul Andriacchi, Director of Environmental Health at the Community Health Agency. “People often forget about their septic systems since they typically function on their own without too much upkeep – but residents should always be Septic Smart.”

More than 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household toxics to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health, the environment, and saves the homeowner money by avoiding costly repairs.

Here are the top 10 ways to be a good septic owner, from the Environmental Protection Agency:

  1. Have your system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to your state/local health department’s recommendations.

  2. Have your septic tank pumped, when necessary, generally every three to five years.

  3. Avoid pouring harsh products (e.g., oils, grease, chemicals, paint, medications) down the drain.

  4. Discard non-degradable products in the trash (e.g., floss, disposable wipes, cat litter) instead of flushing them.

  5. Keep cars and heavy vehicles parked away from the drain field and tank.

  6. Follow the system manufacturer’s directions when using septic tank cleaners and additives.

  7. Repair leaks and use water efficient fixtures to avoid overloading the system.

  8. Maintain plants and vegetation near the system to ensure roots do not block drains.

  9. Use soaps and detergents that are low-suds, biodegradable, and low- or phosphatefree.

  10. Prevent system freezing during cold weather by inspecting and insulating vulnerable system parts (e.g., the inspection pipe and soil treatment area).