Pump Your Septic Every 3-5 Years to Protect Regional Water Quality and Habitat

SepticSmart Seal with URLAttention septic owners! You must pump your system every 3 to 5 years. Nope, Rid-X doesn’t solve it. Nope, you don’t need to add bacteria aside from what comes out of you, if you catch our drift. Nope, a “zero maintenance system” does not exist. Groundwater contaminated by poorly or untreated household wastewater doesn’t just pose dangers to drinking water—it poses dangers to the environment including our Indiana dunes and the beaches we love.

Malfunctioning septic systems release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals toxic to local waterways. When these pollutants are released into the ground, they eventually enter streams, rivers, lakes, and more, harming local ecosystems by killing native plants, and fish. Including Lake Michigan! Do your part and pump your septic, and ask your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Here is a link to a great booklet for owners of residential septic systems provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

September 21st – 25th is the EPA’s third annual SepticSmart week, a time each year to highlight proper septic system maintenance. Well-meaning homeowners often get technical advice on the maintenance and general usage of their septic system from friends, relatives, and neighbors. Unfortunately, your friends, relatives and neighbors might not have the facts. They may be telling you old wives tales or septic system folklore.

Many homeowners are also not aware that their county Health Department is the best place for accurate, local information on septic system maintenance. Your county Health Department is more than happy to help you understand the details involved for maintaining a healthy, well-functioning septic system.  They want you to ask questions like, “how do I wash my paint brushes now that I have a septic system?” or “how far from my leach field can I plant a tree?”

If you have a septic system and are reading this post, why not call up a septic system service provider today to schedule an inspection? You may not even need to have your system pumped and you can rest assured that your home is not leaking raw sewage into the waters of northwest Indiana.

Save the Dunes is currently working to including regionally relevant septic system information on our website. So keep an eye out in the coming months for our new Septic System Education Program, supported by the Lake Michigan Coastal Program and in collaboration with our local Septics Coordination Working Group.

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