Celebrate Septic Smart Week

The United States EPA is celebrating the third annual Septic Smart Week from Sept 21 to Sept 25 to promote better use and maintenance of septic system nationwide.

According the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), one quarter of all homes in the United States use an onsite waste water treatment, also known as a septic system, to treat their household waste water. They also estimate that many of these systems are not maintained until there is trouble and the system is not working properly.

In 2013, the USEPA established the first Septic Smart Week. A SepticSmart website was established with a variety of information and resources to assist home and business owners with maintaining their septic system to prevent backups, contamination to local waterways and protect public health. A failed system can cost thousands to replace while regular pumping and maintenance can cost only a few hundred dollars.  

They have developed targeted messages for each day of SepticSmart Week. Each day has a number of suggestions on the day’s topic to help septic system owner’s better use and maintain their system:

Day 1: September 21

Protect It and Inspect It! Homeowners can save more than $10,000 in repair and replacement costs if they have their septic system inspected at least every 3-5 years by a septic service professional at an average cost of $200-350.

Day 2: September 22

Think at the sink! Whether you flush down the toilet, grind it in the garbage disposal, or pour it down the sink, shower, or bath, what goes down the drain can have a major impact on how well your septic system works.

Day 3: September 23

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.

Day 4: September 24

Don't strain your drain! Efficient use of water and staggering large water uses can not only improve the operation of your septic system but also reduce the risk of failure as well.

Day 5: September 25

Shield your field! What is placed on and around your drainfield—a component of your septic system that removes contaminants from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank – matters.

Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) offers homeowner education on septic system use and maintenance. We hold workshops and developed a Septic System Education website that provides a variety of resources to assist homeowners in caring for their system.

MSUE will be offering a Homeowner Septic System Use and Maintenance Workshop on Monday, September 28 in Macomb County at the Washington Township Offices at 57900 Van Dyke from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The workshop is free by pre-registration is recommended to insure available seating and materials. More information and registration can be found online. For more information, please call 586-469-6440.

Another workshop is scheduled for Barry/Eaton counties in Charlotte, Michigan in late October. Visit the Septic System Education website for program details. 

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