Improving water quality through septic system education
Michigan State University Extension provides resources to educate Michigan families about the essential maintenance of septic systems.
Malfunctioning septic systems affect water quality throughout Michigan. With more than 1.2 million septic systems statewide that each generate 300 to 400 gallons of sewage daily, onsite systems treat and dispose of more than 360 million gallons of sewage on average every day.
Few educational resources exist that address essential maintenance of septic systems that also focus on safeguarding the health of Michigan families and the environment. To fill this gap, Michigan State University Extension created the Septic System Education Program.
With the help of county health departments, onsite wastewater consultants and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, MSU Extension held several local Homeowner Septic System Use and Maintenance workshops throughout the state as well as one statewide webinar. Participants surveyed on a 6- to 12-month basis reported the following behavioral changes in how they maintain their septic systems:
- 74.3% of in-person participants noted a change in one or more behaviors regarding their septic system.
- 61.5% of webinar participants noted a change in one or more behaviors regarding their septic system.
- Both delivery methods showed a 100% increase in knowledge about some aspect of septic use and maintenance.