Septic Systems: Out of sight, not out of mind

February 28, 2023

Video Transcript

If you live in the city, you may know that those sewers in the street take it away and city employees then take care of it. They watch over those pipes and the wastewater treatment plant down the street treats the wastewater that is commonly discharged to the river. And for that convenience service, city residents may pay several hundred dollars per year in the form of a monthly or quarterly sewer bill. If water is piped into their home through miles and miles of water pipe, they may also have a monthly drinking water bill to pay. For many living in rural areas, those conveniences may not be available. We have a lot of people that were moving from the city and sewers to the rural areas and on sceptics. And they had no clue that they were totally different systems and they had to treat them totally different and they had to maintain and protect them. Country Living brings with it the responsibility of constructing and maintaining your own wastewater. Today, these necessities of rural living or not cheap to construct, but they do utilize the amazing capacity of the natural soil beneath us to treat our wastewater and return it to the natural groundwater formations. Currently in Michigan, a routine expenses energy to operate the system when applicable, and routine maintenance. However, the responsibility for the maintenance of these systems is ours as homeowners. Septic system. Maintenance is not rocket science. It's really common sense. But people need to know what they're doing. They know they have a septic system and not ignore it. Regulations are developed to make sure onsite systems are properly constructed, but are not always in place to ensure that these expensive systems are well-maintained. And with an estimated 1.2 million onsite systems in Michigan, serving roughly 25% of the state's population. Educating homeowners on the proper care and maintenance of their own on-site system is an important task. This is particularly true of the more complex treatment systems in use today. Designers and regulators agree that trained professionals should check most of these advanced technologies at least once per year. If an on-site system is not maintained, wastewater services resulting in poor treatment, odors, property damage, and potential health issues. If you have your own wastewater treatment system, it can be very effective when properly designed and maintained, treating the water you use and returning it to the environment near the point of views, saving the energy required to move that water great distances. You also have the responsibility to care for that system. So it will last for decades. The site for the system needs to be selected with long-term performance in line. And then the system needs to be used and maintained as though we expect it to last forever. People think they can put anything and everything down them. And that is the surest way get into trouble. You're on-site water and wastewater systems are just as important a part of your rural living as a public water and sewer pipes and treatment are to those who choose to live in our cities. To obtain more information contact. Now Rob, USEPA, local health departments and Michigan State University Extension.