Health department reminds residents not to forget about proper septic system maintenance | News

CADILLAC – As important as septic systems are to the homes that use them, if they are not regularly inspected and properly maintained, they can eventually become unusable.

To raise awareness of the critical role of these systems, the Central Michigan District Health Department, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency are recognizing September 18-22 as SepticSmart Week.

“This week is a great reminder that regular inspections of your septic tank and drainfield can ensure your system is functioning properly and may catch early signs of failure,” said Steve King, CMDHD director of environmental health. “A properly functioning wastewater system is important to maintaining the health of your family, your community and the environment.”

More than one-fifth of U.S. households and over half of households in the CMDHD jurisdiction (including Osceola County) rely on individual on-site wastewater systems to treat their wastewater. These systems must treat and safely dispose of all wastewater generated in a home. A typical family of four generates 12,000 gallons of wastewater in a month. That’s 144,000 gallons per year that must be processed through a septic tank and discharged into the ground in a way that prevents contamination of groundwater and surface water with bacteria, viruses and nutrients.

On-site wastewater treatment plants offer a cost-effective and long-term option for wastewater treatment, especially in sparsely populated areas. When properly installed, operated and maintained, these systems help protect public health, conserve valuable water resources and maintain the economic vitality of a community, according to a press release from CMDHD.

Proper care and maintenance will extend the life of the system. A system’s ability to treat wastewater may decrease as the system ages or with intentional or unintentional misuse. Remember that the purpose of your septic system is to dispose of and treat gray (sink) water and black (toilet) waste. Everything else is poison for the system and poison for the groundwater.

EPA’s SepticSmart initiative is a nationwide public education effort. The EPA offers educational resources to homeowners, local organizations and government leaders to explain how septic systems work and provide tips for properly maintaining them. Helpful tips for maintaining your wastewater treatment system include:


• Know the location of your septic tank and sewer.

• Have a licensed septic tank pump pumped every three to five years. If necessary, pump your tank now before cold weather makes pumping more difficult and sometimes more expensive.

• Keep your tank accessible for future maintenance.

• Maintain detailed records of pumping and maintenance.

• Save water.

• Repair leaky plumbing fixtures, e.g. B. toilet cisterns.

• Use water efficiently and spread water consumption throughout the day and week.

• Do laundry throughout the week instead of doing it all in one day.


• Dispose of harmful chemicals through your drains – such as paint, gasoline, medications, grease, grease, or solids that can clog drains.

• Flush waste down the toilet bowl – such as diapers, disposable wipes, feminine hygiene products, coffee grounds, cigarette butts or cat litter.

• Drive, park, or run machinery over your septic tank and drainfield.

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