The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched SepticSmart, a national program to promote proper septic system care and maintenance by homeowners. Nearly one quarter of all households in the United States depend on septic systems. When properly maintained and used, these systems serve to effectively treat and dispose of wastewater. However, septic system backups and overflows can lead to costly homeowner repairs and can pollute local waterways, creating a risk to public health and the environment.

While licensed and certified professionals are available to assist homeowners in servicing and maintaining their septic systems, homeowners can educate themselves, just as they do with their car or home or anything else they own that requires periodic maintenance. Unfortunately, with the systems being largely out of site, they can be installed and largely forgotten until problems arise. Homeowners can adopt practices like regularly scheduling inspections of the system, preventative measures such as not pouring cooking grease down the drain, and water conservation efforts to reduce septic system failures and help prolong the life of their systems.

In addition to helping educate homeowners, SepticSmart, developed in cooperation with EPA public and private sector partners, will serve as an online resource for industry practitioners and local governments, providing access to tools to help educate their clients and residents. A toolbox of downloadable materials including educational postcards, door hangers, and homeowner guides (in English and Spanish) are available via the SepticSmart Web page.  

Related: Industry Revisits Homeowner Inspection Programs

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/septicsmart.


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