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September 11, 2019

SepticSmart Week 2019

On Friday, August 16, 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation declaring the week of September 16th – 20th as SepticSmart Week. This proclamation was issued as part of the ongoing mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal, state and local government agencies and private sector partners to educate homeowners and local communities about the importance of proper septic system maintenance.

More than 1 million homes in Washington– about one in three households – depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. Skagit County Public Health (SCPH) monitors the status of more than 18,000 on-site sewage systems within Skagit County. Without regular inspections and proper maintenance, septic systems are likely to fail. Failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household toxins into local waterways, which eventually reach the Puget Sound. Proper septic system maintenance plays a vital role in protecting the health of our community and the environment. It can also help homeowners save money by avoiding costly repairs.

During SepticSmart Week 2019, SCPH will publish a variety of tips on the County’s social media platforms that Skagit County residents can use to help maintain their septic systems:

  1. Protect it and inspect it! Regular septic system inspections and maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars and protect public health.
  2. Think at the sink! What goes down your drain has a big impact on your septic system. Avoid harsh chemicals, medications, grease, and use cleaners and detergents in moderation.
  3. Don’t overload the commode! A toilet is not a trash can. Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, cat litter and much more can damage your septic system.
  4. Pump your tank! Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and your local permitting authority.
  5. Don’t strain your drain! Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances (like washing machines and dishwashers) to avoid potential sewage backup into your house.
  6. Shield your field! Tree and shrub roots, cars and livestock can damage your drainfield.
  7. Keep it clean! If you have a well, many things can contaminate your drinking water, such as a failing septic system. Test your well water regularly!

Additional information about SepticSmart Week 2019 and the importance of maintaining septic systems is available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at https://www.epa.gov/septic/septicsmart-homeowners.

Please contact Samantha Russell at srussell@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-416-1566 for additional information about proper septic system maintenance in Skagit County.