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Septic systems
  • A septic system provides treatment for your home’s human waste and all other liquid waste created when you flush, do laundry, or use the sink/tub.

  • If properly designed, constructed and maintained, your septic system will effectively reduce or eliminate most threats to human health the environment posed by pollutants in household wastewater. 

  • Your job is to ensure that the system functions properly both in the wastewater’s first stop (the Septic Tank) and where the real work happens by microbes in the soil (the Drainfield).


Image courtesy Bannon Engineering.

Maintain your septic system regularly to avoid expensive repairs or water contamination.

When maintaining your septic system, follow these simple steps to minimize impacts to water quality:

  • Identify if it should go down the drain. Review the list of items you should avoid sending down the drain that could either create a clog or kill the bacteria needed to break down waste. (See “A Cleaner Bay Starts at Home”).

  • Regularly inspect & pump your system. Have your septic system inspected on a regular basis; the timing for inspection and frequency of pumping will depend on your site-specific system.​

  • Locate your drainfield. Sites that are close to waterbodies should ensure their system is properly sized and not discharging directly into waterways or a conveyance like a ditch.

  • Review how to care for your drainfield above ground. Avoid compacting the soil, planting trees too close to the system, or directing downspouts or other aboveground water sources to the system.

  • Consider the installation of water efficiency fixtures. Understand the size of your septic tank and how that relates to the amount of water you send into it every day. 

Did you know?
Did you know?

With 1/4 of U.S. homes using septic systems, more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater per day is dispersed below the ground’s surface. Inadequately treated sewage from septic systems can be a cause of groundwater contamination, posing a significant threat to drinking water wells.


Image courtesy Bannon Engineering.

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