Onsite wastewater treatment systems programs

Understanding how a household wastewater treatment system works can help protect an individual’s health and the environment.

Where does your household wastewater go when it goes down the drain from your sink or toilet? There are two options: It goes to a municipal wastewater treatment facility where it is cleaned and returned to the environment or it is collected and cleaned on the property through a septic system before going back into the environment. According to the Department of Environmental Quality there are 1.4 million household septic systems in use throughout Michigan. This accounts for over 30 percent of all Michigan households. 

The best way to protect your health and the environment is to understand how a septic system works, what is proper use and maintenance and what are the signs that indicate a problem with your system. Proper use and regular maintenance are essential to ensure a long-lived and properly functioning system. Many people think that because a septic system filters and cleans wastewater like a municipal system does that a septic system can be treated in the same way. Not true! A system can operate correctly for 15 to 40 years IF it is used appropriately, maintained regularly and designed for the site and situation. Even a brand new system can fail prematurely if any of the above are not followed. 

To assist homeowners and businesses in protecting their system to extend its life expectancy, Michigan State University Extension is offering two free programs on the use and maintenance of an onsite wastewater system. These programs will cover use, proper maintenance, best management practices, signs of trouble and what steps to take if there are problems. 

The first program will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at the Washington Township Office, 57900 Van Dyke from 6 to 8:15 p.m. 

The second program will be held on Monday, March 7 in the Orion Township Library, 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

Both program are free but registration is highly recommended to insure seating and handouts. Registration can be completed online. For more information, please call 586-469-6440. 

For more information on septic systems, please visit Michigan State University Extension’s Septic System Education website.

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