Helpful tips for your septic system
On Monday, September 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – in conjunction with federal, state and local government and private sector partners – will kick off its fifth annual SepticSmart Week (September 18th-22nd) to encourage American homeowners and communities to properly maintain their septic systems.
More than 26 million homes in the United States – or one in five households – depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. Skagit County Department of Public Health tracks the status of more than 18,000 on-site sewage systems (OSS). 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 and the environment and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs.
HOMEOWNER TIP #1
Protect It and Inspect It!
Homeowners that have simple gravity On-Site Sewage Systems (OSS), which includes a tank to clarify household sewage and a gravity drainfield, are required to have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional. With proper training you may be able to inspect your own gravity system in lieu of hiring a professional inspector. For more details, please call Skagit County Department of Public Health at 360-416-1500.
OSS with more complex components must have an inspection by a qualified professional annually.
Tanks should be pumped only when the inspection determines necessity.
HOMEOWNER TIPS 2 and 3!
Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain. These can clog your system’s pipes and drainfield. Instead, scrape your pots, pans, and plates into your garbage.
Don’t Overload the Commode: Only put things in the drain or toilet that belong there – only #1, #2, and TP. Other items such as coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes (including “flushable” wipes), feminine hygiene products, harsh chemicals, cigarette butts, and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems.