Proper Septic System Care Stressed During SepticSmart Week

9/19/2016
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Do your part, get septic smart. That’s the message being promoted for SepticSmart Week this week (Sept. 19-23).

One in five American households rely on septic systems to treat wastewater. Yet, unfortunately, not everyone knows how to properly care for these systems. Failure to maintain a septic system can lead to backups and overflows. Also, faulty systems release bacteria, viruses and chemicals that can be toxic to local waterways.

By properly maintaining your septic system, you can not only avoid costly repairs but can also prevent water pollution and risks to public health and the environment. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is helping promote the U.S. EPA’s SepticSmart program by sharing septic maintenance tips such as these:

    •     Protect it and Inspect it: Homeowners should generally have their systems inspected every three years by licensed contractors, and have their tanks pumped when necessary. Many septic system failures occur during the winter holiday season. Therefore, DEP and EPA encourage homeowners to get their septic systems inspected and serviced now, before licensed inspectors’ schedules fill up around the holidays.

    •     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 down the drain or toilet that belong there. Items such as 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 — 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. Having the right landscaping on and around your system is also important. Tree and shrubbery roots can grow into the drain lines, clogging and breaking them, so grass and native vegetation are the best covers for your drainfield.

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.

For more information, visit the EPA's SepticSmart page: For more information, visit the EPA's SepticSmart page: For more information, visit the EPA's SepticSmart page: For more information, visit the EPA's SepticSmart page: For more information, visit the EPA's SepticSmart page: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/septic/Septic-Smart-Week.cfm.

For more DEP news and information, go to For more DEP news and information, go to For more DEP news and information, go to For more DEP news and information, go to For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about our REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan), West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia Watershed Improvement Branch, Youth Environmental Program and Human Resources initiatives, connect on Facebook.


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Contact:

Kelley Gillenwater
304-926-0499, ext. 1331
kelley.j.gillenwater@wv.gov
 

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