Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed September 17-21, 2018, as SepticSmart Week in Michigan. In addition to the state’s proclamation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will kick off its sixth annual SepticSmart Week in conjunction with federal, state and local governments and private sector partners.
Simple tips for homeowners:
Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to their state or local health department’s recommendations. Tanks should be pumped when necessary, typically every three to five years.
Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain. These substances can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
Don’t Overload the Commode: Only put things in the drain or toilet that belong there. For example, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems.
Don’t Strain Your Drain: Be water-efficient and spread out water use. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products. Spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day, as using too much water at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
Shield Your Field: Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drainfield, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.
Pump your Tank: Routinely pumping your tank can prevent your septic system from premature failure, which can lead to groundwater contamination.
Test Your Drinking Water Well: If septic systems aren’t properly maintained, leaks can contaminate well water. Testing your drinking water well is the best way to ensure your well water is free from contaminates.
The EPA’s SepticSmart Program educates homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance all year long. In addition, it serves as an online resource for industry practitioners, local governments and community organizations, providing access to tools to educate clients and residents. Additional linformation can be found at www.epa.gov/septic.
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 into local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health, the environment and saves the homeowner money by avoiding costly repairs.
Michigan has a vision to protect and promote the wise use of its globally unique water resources. This vision is outlined in the Strategy for Sustaining Michigan’s Water Heritage (Water Strategy) www.michigan.gov/waterstrategy. Within the Water Strategy, a key recommendation is to ensure clean and safe water through passing a statewide sanitary code.
For information on septic systems, SepticSmart Week, or tips on how to properly maintain your septic system, visit www.michigan.gov/deqonsitewastewater.