The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is reminding Hoosiers to maintain their septic systems as part of SepticSmart Week, a national observance designed to educate homeowners and communities about the importance of caring for septic systems.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than one in five households in the United States (60 million people) depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater. Nearly 39 percent of Hoosiers use septic systems to treat wastewater from their homes and businesses. About 15,000 septic systems are installed and about 6,000 repaired in Indiana each year. Proper maintenance of these systems is a vital part of protecting public health.
"Septic system maintenance is important and is the best way to protect human and environmental health," said Mike Mettler, REHS, director of Environmental Public Health at ISDH. "Have your system checked at least every three years and keep records of all maintenance work."
Septic system owners are responsible for maintaining their onsite wastewater treatment systems. SepticSmart Week provides homeowners an opportunity to learn measures that will help them properly use and maintain their systems and protect their investments in their homes.
Homeowners with septic systems are urged to follow these tips:
- Have systems inspected every three years by a licensed contractor, and have tanks pumped every three to five years, or more frequently if necessary.
- Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain.
- Monitor water use and spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day. Too much water at once can overload a system.
- Fix plumbing leaks and consider installing faucet aerators.
- Never park or drive on a system’s absorption field where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.The EPA’s SepticSmart program promotes proper septic system use and maintenance all year long. Industry practitioners, local governments, homeowners and community organizations can learn more about septic systems at www.onsite.isdh.in.gov. Visit www.epa.gov/septic for more homeowner resources and information about SepticSmart Week 2019.