News Releases from Headquarters›Water (OW)
EPA’s Eighth Annual SepticSmart Week: Safeguard Your Family’s Health, Protect the Environment and Save Money
WASHINGTON (September 14, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—with support from state and local governments, the private sector, communities and academia—kicked-off its eighth annual SepticSmart Week. SepticSmart Week 2020 encourages homeowners, wastewater professionals and local officials to design and maintain effective septic systems to safeguard public health, protect the environment and save money.
“EPA’s annual SepticSmart Week provides an important reminder to maintain septic systems, which many individuals and communities rely on to safely manage wastewater,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. “EPA’s simple tips to help septic systems operate properly will help protect public health and the environment while preventing costly repairs.”
EPA’s SepticSmart initiative is a nationwide public education effort that offers educational resources to homeowners, local organizations and government leaders to explain how septic systems work and provide tips on how to properly maintain them. Organizations and individuals wishing to engage in SepticSmart Week 2020 are encouraged to promote public awareness about the event and share helpful tips, such as:
- Think at the Sink! What goes down the drain has a big impact on septic systems. Fats, grease and solids can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
- Don’t Overload the Commode! A toilet is not a trash can. Do not flush non-degradable items such as dental floss, diapers, wipes and hygiene products – they can damage a septic system.
- Don’t Strain Your Drain! Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances. Too much water use at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
- Shield Your Field! Tree and shrub roots, cars and livestock can damage your septic drainfield.
- Keep It Clean! Contamination can occur if a septic system leaks due to improper maintenance. Regular testing can help ensure that your drinking water is safe.
- Protect It and Inspect It! Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs and protect public health.
- Pump Your Tank! Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regularly intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority.
More than one-fifth of U.S. households utilize an individual onsite system or small community cluster septic system to treat their wastewater. These systems treat and dispose of relatively small volumes of wastewater and include a wide range of individual and cluster treatment options to process household and commercial sewage. These systems go by such names as septic, decentralized wastewater treatment, cluster, package plants, on-lot, individual sewage disposal, and private sewage.
Onsite systems provide a cost-effective, long-term option for treating wastewater, particularly in sparsely populated areas. When properly installed, operated, and maintained, these systems help protect public health and a community’s water resources.