An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Septic Systems

More Resources for Homeowners with Septic Systems

Learn more about how your septic system operates, why it is important to properly maintain your system, and simple, every-day tips to help you avoid costly system repairs or replacement.

Brochures and Fact Sheets

  • Preparedness and Response for Septic Systems Exit- After a natural disaster, septic systems may be damaged and fail to operate correctly. Ensuring that these systems function properly is essential to providing safe waste disposal for millions of Americans, yet there may be no standard safety protocol in place for using septic systems after a disaster occurs. This toolkit from the National Environmental Health Association provides guidance documents for different types of disasters (hurricanes/flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, snow/ice/freezing temperatures, and power outages).
  • Where Does All the Dirty Water Go? - This brochure teaches citizens about the importance of wastewater, explains the basics of wastewater treatment, and contains helpful hints for homeowners about what not to put into the sanitary sewer system.
  • What Happens After the Flush - This colorful reprint from The Family Handyman magazine uses illustrations to explain how various wastewater systems work. Reprinted with permission from The Family Handyman magazine, 1997 Home Service Publications, Inc., an affiliate of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., Suite 700, 2915 Commers Drive, Eagan, Minnesota 55121.
  • Protecting Your Private Drinking Water Well - Properly maintaining and ensuring the proper functioning of septic systems is vital to protecting private drinking water wells. Similar to septic systems, proper well construction and continued maintenance are keys to a safe water supply.


The following videos are the product of a collaborative effort between the Colorado Rural Water Association (the Colorado state affiliate of the National Rural Water Association, a Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partner), Colorado Professionals in Onsite Wastewater, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 


Related Information

  • Large-Capacity Septic Systems
  • Septic Systems: What to Do after the Flood
  • WaterSense - Be Water Wise - Learn about water-efficient products and tips that will keep your septic system in working order and save you money on your utility bill.
  • What Not to Flush Exit- City of Tacoma, Washington explains how to avoid drain pain by not flushing items that clog pipes, tangle pumps, and cause messy sewer backups into streets, businesses, and homes.
  • Do Not Flush This Exit- City of Portland, Oregon demonstrates how putting the wrong things down the drain can damage the sewer system, cause sewer backups in your home, and cause sewer releases to the environment.