According to the EPA, nearly one in four households in the United States depends on an individual septic (onsite) system or small community cluster system to treat wastewater. A septic system’s main duty is to separate things like oil, grease and solids from wastewater. Septic systems have the potential to contaminate ground water and surface water with nutrients and disease-causing organisms if misused, improperly maintained or improperly constructed.
Viewer Tip: Septic systems need to be maintained just like any other appliance you may have in your home. Failure to keep your system maintained, such as pumping the tank at least every three to five years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system. Here are some tips to help ensure that your system runs properly:
- Inspect your septic system annually.
- Avoid putting hair, coffee grounds, dental floss, paper towels or cigarette butts down the sink or in the toilet.
- Try to reduce the use of your garbage disposal. Unnecessary solids get sent to your septic system and can increase the need for your system to be pumped.
(Source: U.S. EPA, “Septic (Onsite) Systems”, http://cfpub.epa.gov/owm/septic/septic.cfm?page_id=261)