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					                                                                                                           FALL 2004
                                                                                                          Vol. 15, No. 4




                                          Small Community Wastewater Issues Explained to the Public

       Maintaining Your Septic System—A Guide For Homeowners
             uried beneath your                 have a significant impact on how


  B          back yard, it is out
             there—constantly
             working. When
you’re at work, it is working.
                                                well it works and how long it
                                                lasts, and in most communities,
                                                septic system maintenance is the
                                                responsibility of the homeowner.
When you’re eating dinner, it
                                                Preventing groundwater pollution
                                                                                       Why Maintain Your System
continues working. And when                                                            There are three main reasons
                                                from failing septic systems should
you’re sleeping, it’s still out there                                                  why septic system maintenance is
                                                be a priority for every community
in the dark—working. What is                                                           so important. The first reason is
                                                and every homeowner. Contam-
it? Your septic system. It may be                                                      money. Failing septic systems are
                                                ination of the groundwater source
the most overlooked and under-                                                         expensive to repair or replace,
                                                can lead to the pollution of local
valued utility in your home; but                                                       and improper maintenance by
                                                wells, streams, lakes, and ponds—
with proper care and mainte-                                                           homeowners is a common cause
                                                exposing family, friends, and
nance, your septic system can                                                          of early system failure. The mini-
                                                neighbors to waterborne diseases
continue to work for you for at                                                        mal amount of preventative
                                                and other serious health risks.
least 25 to 30 years.                                                                  maintenance that septic systems
                                                When a septic system fails,            require costs very little in com-
If you are like most homeowners,
                                                inadequately treated domestic          parison to the cost of a new
you probably never give much
                                                waste can reach the groundwater.       system. For example, it typically
thought to what happens when
                                                Bacteria and viruses from human        costs from $3,000 to $10,000 to
waste goes down your drain. But
                                                waste can cause dysentery, hepa-       replace a failing septic system,
if you rely on a septic system to
                                                titis, and typhoid fever. Many         compared to $100 to $300 aver-
treat and dispose of your house-
                                                serious outbreaks of these diseases    age per year costs to have a septic
hold wastewater, what you don’t
                                                have been caused by contaminat-        system routinely pumped and
know can hurt you.
                                                ed drinking water.                     inspected.
Proper operation and mainte-
                                                Nitrates and phosphates, also          The second and most important
nance of your septic system can
                                                found in domestic wastewater,          reason to properly maintain your
                                                can cause excessive algae growth       system is the health of your family,
What’s Inside...                                in lakes and streams called algal
                                                blooms. These blooms cause aes-
                                                                                       your community, and the envi-
                                                                                       ronment. When septic systems
                                                thetic problems and impair other       fail, inadequately treated house-
Maintaining Your Septic System....1             aquatic life. Nitrate is also the      hold wastewater is released into
What Not to Flush..........................4    cause of methemoglobinemia, or         the environment. Any contact
                                                blue baby syndrome, a condition        with untreated human waste can
M o d e rn Appliances that Affect               that prevents the normal uptake        pose a significant risk to public
 Septic Systems ..........................5
                                                of oxygen in the blood of young        health. Untreated wastewater
How Your Septic System Works....6               babies.                                from failing septic systems can
                                                In addition, a failing septic system   contaminate nearby wells,
Use Water Wisely All
 Around the House ......................6       can lead to unpleasant symptoms,       groundwater, and drinking water
                                                such as pungent odors and soggy        sources.
Septic System Dos and Don’ts . . . . . .7
                                                lawns.
Related Products ..........................8
                                                                                               Maintenance


   Chemicals improperly disposed                                                                  Water Use Around The Home
   of through a septic system also
   can pollute local water sources
   and can contribute to early
   system failures. For this reason
   it is important for homeowners
   to educate themselves about
   what can and what cannot be                                                              45% Toilets
   disposed of through a septic
   system.                                                                                                30% Bathing
   A third reason to maintain your
                                                                                             Laundry & Dishes 20%
   septic system is to maintain the
   economic health of your com-
   munity. Failing septic systems                                                                         Drinking & Cooking 5%
   can cause property values to
   decline. Sometimes building
   permits cannot be issued for                                                        How to Maintain Your System                     locate the buried piping. Once
   these properties. Also, failing                                                     Septic system maintenance is                    the system components are
   septic systems may contribute to                                                    often compared to automobile                    found, be sure to sketch a map
   the pollution of local rivers,                                                      maintenance because only a                      and keep it on hand to save time
   lakes, and shoreline that your                                                      little effort on a regular basis                on future service visits.
   community uses for commercial                                                       can save a lot of money and                     2. Uncovering the manhole
   or recreational activities.                                                         significantly prolong the life                  and inspection ports.
                                                                                       of the system.                                  This may require some digging in
                                                                                       Annual inspections of your                      the yard. If they are buried, it
                                                                                       septic system are recommended                   will help future inspections if
                                                                                       to ensure that it is working prop-              elevated access covers or risers
                                                                                       erly and to determine when the                  are installed to make it easier to
                                                                                       septic tank should be pumped.                   access the ports and manhole.
                                                                                       Systems that have moving parts                  3. Checking connections.
                                                                                       may require more frequent                       Flushing the toilets, running water
                                                                                       inspections. By having your                     in the sinks, running the washing
           Pipeline is published quarterly by the                                      system inspected and pumped                     machine through a cycle will help
          National Environmental Services Center                                       regularly, you can prevent the
                at West Virginia University,                                                                                           to determine if the household
       P.O. Box 6064, Morgantown, WV 26506-6064                                        high cost of septic system failure.             plumbing is all going to the
        Pipeline is funded through a grant from the                                    A professional contractor can do                system and working correctly.
          U.S. Environmental Protection Agency                                         a thorough inspection of the
                      Washington, D.C.                                                                                                 4. Measuring the scum and
               Steve Hogye—Project Officer
                                                                                       entire system and check for                     sludge layers.
                Municipal Support Division                                             cracked pipes and the condition                 The inspector will measure the
            Office of Wastewater Management                                            of the tees or baffles and other
           National Small Flows Clearinghouse                                                                                          scum and sludge layers with spe-
        West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
                                                                                       parts of the system.                            cial tools inserted through the
                   Rick Phalunas — IED                                                 A thorough septic system inspec-                inspection port. A proper inspec-
                   Marilyn Noah — Editor                                                                                               tion will also include a visual
           Jennifer Hause — Technical Advisor                                          tion will include the following
           Ed Winant PE — Technical Advisor                                            steps:                                          observation of the scum and
         John Fekete — Senior Graphic Designer                                                                                         sludge layers. (The sludge layer is
           Jamie Bouquot — Graphic Designer                                            1. Locating the system.
        Permission to quote from or reproduce articles in                                                                              the heavier solids that have set-
                                                                                       Even a professional may have
this publication is granted when due acknowledgement is given.                                                                         tled down to the bottom of the
   Please send a copy of the publication in which information                          trouble locating the system if the
      was used to the Pipeline editor at the address above.                                                                            tank. The scum layer is made up
                                                                                       access to your tank is buried. One
                                                                                                                                       of grease and light solids that
                                                                                       way to start looking is to go in
                                                                                                                                       float near the top of the tank.)
                       an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution             the basement and determine the
                                  ISSN 1060-0043                                       direction the sewer pipe goes out               If the sludge depth is equal to
The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of
 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the mention of trade names         through the wall. Back outside,                 one third or more of the liquid
   or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
                                  Printed on recycled paper
                                                                                       the inspector will use an insulated             depth, the tank should be
                                                                                       probe inserted into the soil to                 pumped. Also, the tank needs to

   2
PIPELINE – Fall 2004; Vol.15, No. 4                                                                     National Environmental Services Center (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                                       Maintenance


  be pumped when it is 1/3 full.                            distribution box, drop box, or                   field, this could clog and strain
  See the table below for estimated                         pump, these need to be                           the system to the point where a
  pumping frequencies. But be                               checked too.                                     new drainfield will be needed.
  aware it is most prudent to con-
                                                            How often the tank needs to be                   Recordkeeping
  duct regular inspections and
                                                            pumped depends on the tank                       It is very important to keep a
  pump when the inspection says
                                                            size, the number of people living                detailed record of all inspections,
  the tank needs to be pumped.
                                                            in your home, and the habits of                  pumpings, permits, repairs, and
  Remember that toxic gases are                             your particular household.                       any other maintenance to your
  produced by the natural treat-                            Garbage disposals and high-                      system along with a sketch of
  ment processes in septic tanks                            water-use appliances, such as a                  where your septic system is
  and can kill in minutes. Even                             hot tub or whirlpool, also affect                located. Having this information
  looking into the tank can be                              the pumping frequency.                           on hand for service visits can
  dangerous. Leave inspections to                                                                            save you both time and money.
                                                            When it’s time to pump, be sure
  the trained professionals.
                                                            to hire a licensed contractor. He                Learn the location of your
  5. Checking the tank and the                              or she will have the appropriate                 septic system, and keep a dia-
  drainfield.                                               equipment and will dispose of                    gram or sketch of it with your
  The inspector will check the                              the sludge at an approved treat-                 maintenance records.
  condition of the baffles or tees,                         ment site. You can find listings
  the walls of the tank for cracks,                         for licensed pumpers and haulers                 Inspecting your septic system
  and the drainfield for any signs                          in the yellow pages, or contact                  annually is a good way to
  of failure. If the system includes a                      your local health department or                  monitor your system‘s health.
                                                            permitting agency for assistance.                Inspections can reveal problems
                                                                                                             before they become serious, and
                                                                           It’s a good idea to be            by checking the levels of sludge
  Figure 1.                                                                present when your                 and scum in your tank, you can
  Estimated septic tank pumping frequencies in                             tank is being                     get a more accurate idea of how
  years. These figures assume there is no garbage                          pumped. Make sure
  disposal unit in use. If one is in use, pumping                                                            often it should be pumped.
                                                                           that the contractor
  frequency may need to be increased.                                      uses the manhole,                 Protect the tank and drainfield
  (Source: Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension Service.)
                                                                           not the inspection                Protect your septic system from
                                                                           ports, to pump the                potential damage. Don’t plant
   Tank                         Household Size
                                                                           tank to avoid dam-                anything but grass near your
   Size                       (number of people)
                                                                           aging the baffles or              septic system—roots from shrubs
   (gals.)                                                                 tees. Also make sure              and trees can cause damage—
                 1        2           3       4         5         6
                                                                           all of the material in            and don’t allow anyone to drive
                                                                           the tank is removed.              or operate heavy machinery over
     500         5.8       2.6         1.5    1.0        0.7       0.4     It is not necessary to            any part of the system. Also,
                                                                           leave anything in                 don’t build anything over the
     750         9.1       4.2         2.6    1.8        1.3       1.0     the tank to “restart”             drainfield. Grass is the most
                                                                           the biological                    appropriate cover for the
     900       11.0        5.2         3.3    2.3        1.7       1.3     processes, but it is              drainfield.
                                                                           also not necessary to
                                                                                                             Sound septic system operation
                                                                           scrub or disinfect the
    1000       12.4        5.9         3.7    2.6        2.0       1.5                                       and maintenance practices
                                                                           tank.
                                                                                                             include conserving water, being
    1250       15.6        7.5         4.8    3.4        2.6       2.0     Pumping your septic               careful that nothing harmful is
                                                                           tank is probably the              disposed of through the system,
                                                                           single most impor-                and having the system inspected
    1500       18.9        9.1         5.9    4.2        3.3       2.6     tant thing that you               annually and pumped regularly.
                                                                           can do to protect
    1750       22.1      10.7          6.9    5.0        3.9       3.1                                       By educating everyone in your
                                                                           your system. If the
                                                                                                             household about what is and
                                                                           buildup of solids in
                                                                                                             what isn’t good for septic systems,
    2000       25.4      12.4          8.0    5.9        4.5       3.7     the tank becomes
                                                                                                             they can begin to develop good
                                                                           too high and solids
                                                                                                             maintenance habits.
                                                                           move to the drain-
    2250       28.6      14.0          9.1    6.7        5.2       4.2

    2500       31.9      15.6         10.2    7.5        5.9       4.8
                                                                                                                                                        3
PIPELINE – Fall 2004; Vol.15, No. 4                                           National Environmental Services Center (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                 Maintenance

                                        What Not To Flush
  What you put into your septic          the toilet to dispose of plastics,              the groundwater.
  system greatly affects its ability     paper towels, facial tissues, tam-
                                                                                         Even latex paint is unhealthy for
  to do its job. Remember, your          pons, sanitary napkins, cigarette
                                                                                         your septic system. To reduce the
  septic system contains living          butts, dental floss, disposable dia-
                                                                                         cleanup of these products,
  organisms that digest and treat        pers, condoms, kitty litter, etc.
                                                                                         squeeze all excess paint and stain
  waste. As a general rule of            The only things that should be
                                                                                         from brushes and rollers on
  thumb, do not dispose of               flushed down the toilet are waste-
                                                                                         several layers of newspaper
  anything in your septic system         water and toilet paper.
                                                                                         before rinsing.
  that can just as easily be put in
                                         When used as recommended by
  the trash. Your system is not                                                          To help prevent groundwater
                                         the manufacturer, most house-
  designed to be a garbage can                                                           pollution, be sure to dispose of
                                         hold cleaning products will not
  and solids build up in the septic                                                      leftover hazardous chemicals by
                                         adversely affect the operation of
  tank that will eventually need to                                                      taking them to an approved
                                         your septic tank. Drain cleaners
  be pumped. The more solids that                                                        hazardous waste collection
                                         are an exception, however, and
  go into the tank, the more                                                             center. For more information,
                                         only a small amount of these
  frequently the tank will need to                                                       contact your local health
                                         products can kill the bacteria and
  be pumped, and the higher the                                                          department.
                                         temporarily disrupt the operation
  risk for problems to arise.
                                         of the tank.                                    Additives/System Cleaners
  In the kitchen, avoid washing                                                          While many products on the
                                         Household cleaners such as
  food scraps, coffee grinds, and                                                        market claim to help septic
                                         bleach, disinfectants, and drain
  other food items down the drain.                                                       systems work better, the truth is
                                         and toilet bowl cleaners should
  Grease and cooking oils con-                                                           there is no magic potion to cure
                                         be used in moderation and only
  tribute to the layer of scum in the                                                    an ailing system. In fact, most
                                         in accordance with product
  tank and also should not be put                                                        engineers and sanitation profes-
                                         labels. Overuse of these products
  down the drain.                                                                        sionals believe that commercial
                                         can harm your system. It makes
  The same common-sense                  sense to try to keep all toxic and              septic system additives are, at
  approach used in the kitchen           hazardous chemicals out of your                 best, useless, and at worst,
  should be used in the bathroom.                     septic tank system.                harmful to a system.
  Don’t use                                                                              There are two types of septic
                                                        To avoid disrupt-
                                                         ing or perma-                   system additives: biological (like
                                                          nently damaging                bacteria, enzymes, and yeast) and
                                                           your septic sys-              chemical. The biological additives
                                                            tem, do not use              are harmless but some chemical
                                                             it to                       additives can potentially harm
                                                              dispose of                 the soil in the drainfield and
                                                               hazardous                 contaminate the groundwater.
                                                               household                 While there hasn’t been exten-
                                                               chemicals.                sive study on the effectiveness
                                                           Even small                    of these products, the general
                                                   amounts of paints,                    consensus among septic system
                                           varnishes, paint thinners,                    experts is that septic system
                                           waste oil, anti-freeze, photo-                additives are an unnecessary evil.
                                              graphic solutions, pharma-
                                               ceuticals, antibacterial                  Be aware that the extended use
                                               soaps, gasoline, oil, pesti-              of strong pharmaceuticals and
                                               cides, and other organic                  personal care products may
                                               chemicals can destroy                     harm the working bacteria popu-
                                              helpful bacteria and the                   lation in the tank. The total
                                              biological digestion taking                effects are unknown at this time.
                                             place within your system.
                                            These chemicals also pollute




  4
PIPELINE – Fall 2004; Vol.15, No. 4                       National Environmental Services Center (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                               Maintenance

      Modern Appliances May Affect Your Septic Tank




  Hot Tubs/Whirlpools                  Garbage Disposals                               Water Softeners
  Hot tubs and whirlpools have         Garbage disposals can increase                  Some freshwater purification
  become more common today in          the amount of solids in the tank                systems, including water softeners,
  the home as a source of relax-       up to 50 percent and should not                 needlessly pump hundreds of
  ation and therapy. While the         be used. Eliminating a garbage                  gallons of water into the septic
  soothing, swirling waters of a spa   disposal can greatly reduce the                 system all at once. This can agi-
  may be good for a homeowner,         amount of grease and solids that                tate the solids and allow excess to
  unfortunately, the large amounts     enter the drainfield.                           flow into the drainfield. Consult a
  of water that drain from the hot                                                     plumbing professional about
                                       Because a garbage disposal
  tub are not good for your septic                                                     a l t e rnative routing for such
                                       grinds kitchen scraps into small
  system.                                                                              freshwater treatment systems.
                                       pieces, once they reach the septic
  Emptying large quantities of         tank, they are suspended in the                 Water softeners remove hardness
  water from a hot tub into your       water. Some of these materials                  by using a salt to initiate an ion
  septic system can overload a         are broken down by bacterial                    exchange. The backwash to
  system and stir the solids in the    action, but most of the grindings               regenerate the softener flushes
  tank, pushing them into the          must be pumped out of the tank.                 pounds of this used salt into the
  drainfield, eventually causing it                                                    septic system. There is some con-
                                       As a result, use of a garbage
  to fail.                                                                             cern that these excess salts can
                                       disposal will significantly increase
                                                                                       affect the digestion in the septic
  Hot tub water should instead be      the amount of sludge and scum
                                                                                       tank or reduce the permeability
  cooled and then drained onto turf    in your septic tank. Therefore,
                                                                                       in the soil dispersal system.
  or landscaped areas of your prop-    many states require a larger min-
  erty well away from the septic       imum size septic tank if there will             The Winter 2001 issue of Pipeline
  tank, drainfield, and house in       be a garbage grinder/disposal                   gives additional information
  accordance with local regulations.   unit in operation in the house.                 about water softener use.
                                                                                                                                  5
PIPELINE – Fall 2004; Vol.15, No. 4                     National Environmental Services Center (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                 Maintenance

     How Your Septic System Works
    There are two main parts to the      should stagger their laundry
    basic septic system: the septic      throughout the week and try to
    tank and the drainfield.             do no more than two wash loads
    Household wastewater first flows     per day.
    into the septic tank where it        When wastewater leaves a septic
    should stay for at least a day. In   tank too soon, solids can be car-
    the tank, heavy solids in the        ried with it to the drainfield.
    wastewater settle to the bottom
    forming a layer of sludge, and
                                         Drainfields provide additional
                                         treatment for the wastewater by
                                                                                          Use Water Wisely All
    grease and light solids float to     allowing it to trickle from a series
    the top forming a layer of scum.     of perforated pipes, through a
                                                                                            Around The House
    The sludge and scum remain in        layer of gravel, and down
    the tank where naturally occur-      through the soil. The soil acts as              Water conservation is very
    ring bacteria work to break them     a natural filter and contains                   important for septic systems
    down. The bacteria cannot com-       organisms that help treat the                   because continual saturation of
    pletely break down all of the        waste. Solids damage the drain-                 the soil in the drainfield can
    sludge and scum, however, and        field by clogging the small holes               affect the quality of the soil and
    this is why septic tanks need to     in the drainfield pipes, and                    its ability to naturally remove
    be pumped periodically.              excess water strains the system                 toxics, bacteria, viruses, and
                                         unnecessarily.                                  other pollutants from the waste-
    The separated wastewater in the                                                      water.
    middle layer of the tank is          Conventional septic systems are
    pushed out into the drainfield as    a very simple way to treat house-               The most effective way to con-
    more wastewater enters the septic    hold wastewater. They contain                   serve water around the house is
    tank from the house. If too much     no moving parts and are easy to                 to first take stock of how it is
    water is flushed into the septic     operate and maintain. Although                  being wasted. Immediately repair
    tank in a short period of time,      homeowners must take a more                     any leaking faucets or running
    the wastewater flows out of the      active role in maintaining septic               toilets, and use dishwashers only
    tank before it has had time to       systems, once they learn how                    when full.
    separate. This can happen on         their systems work, it is easy for
                                         them to appreciate the impor-                   Laundry
    days when water use is unusually
                                         tance of a few sound operation                  You can also cut down on water
    high, or more often if the septic
                                         and maintenance practices.                      use by selecting the proper load
    tank is too small for the needs of
                                                                                         size for your washing machine.
    the household. Homeowners
                                                                                         Washing small loads of laundry
                                                                                         with large quantities of water is a
                                                                                         waste of both water and energy.
                                                                                         Also doing laundry all in one
                                                                                         day might seem like a good use
                                                                                         of time, but it could be harmful
                                                                                         to your septic system. By doing
                                                                                         several loads in succession, the
                                                                                         septic system does not have time
                                                                                         to adequately treat wastes. You
                                                                                         might be hydraulically overload-
                                                                                         ing your septic system, causing it
                                                                                         to pass solids into the drainfield.
                                                                                                    Newer energy-efficient
                                                                                                    clothes washers use 35
                                                                                                    percent less energy
                                                                                                    and 50 percent less
                                                                                                    water than a standard
                                                                                         model. Look for appliances that
                                                                                         display the Energy Star symbol.
                                                                                         This indicates they meet strict
  6
PIPELINE – Fall 2004; Vol.15, No. 4                       National Environmental Services Center (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191
                                                        Maintenance

   energy efficiency guidelines set                Septic System Dos and Don’ts
   by the EPA and the U.S.
   Department of Energy.
                                                *Do learn the location of your               *Don’t allow anyone to drive or
   Use only nonphosphate or low                 septic tank and drainfield. Keep             park over any part of the system.
   phosphate laundry detergents.                a sketch of it handy with your
   Powder detergents with low inert             maintenance record for service               *Don’t plant anything over or
   (clay) content are also easier on            visits.                                      near the drainfield except grass.
   the septic system.                                                                        Roots from nearby trees or shrubs
                                                *Do have your septic system                  may clog and damage the drain
   Bathrooms
                                                inspected annually.                          lines.
   In a typical household, most of
   the water used indoors is used
   in the bathroom, and there are               *Do have your septic tank                    *Don’t dig in your drainfield or
   several little things that can be            pumped out by a licensed con-                build anything over it, and don’t
   done to conserve water there.                tractor, approximately every                 cover the drainfield with a hard
                                                three to five years, or as often as          surface such as concrete or
   For example, try to avoid letting
                                                is appropriate for your system               asphalt. The area over the drain-
   water run while washing hands
                                                                                             field should have only a grass
   and brushing teeth. Avoid taking
                                                *Do keep your septic tank cover              cover. The grass will not only
   long showers and install water-
                                                accessible for inspections and               prevent erosion, but will help
   saving features in faucets and
                                                pumping. Install risers if neces-            remove excess water.
   shower heads. These devices can
   reduce water use by up to 50 per-            sary.
   cent. Low-flush toilets use 1.6                                                           *Don’t make or allow repairs to
   gallons per flush compared to the            *Do call a professional whenever             your septic system without
   three to five gallons used by con-           you experience problems with                 obtaining the required health
   ventional toilets. Even using a              your system, or if there are any             department permit. Use profes-
   toilet dam or putting a container            signs of system failure.                     sional licensed onsite contractors
   filled with rocks in the toilet                                                           when needed.
   tank can reduce water use by
                                                *Do keep a detailed record of
   25 percent.                                                                               *Don’t use septic tank additives.
                                                repairs, pumping, inspections,
   It is also important to avoid over-          permits issued, and other mainte-            Under normal operating condi-
   taxing your system by using a lot            nance activities.                            tions, these products usually do
   of water in a short time period,                                                          not help and some may even be
   or by allowing too much outside                                                           harmful to your system.
                                                *Do conserve water to avoid
   water to reach the drainfield. Try           overloading the system. Be sure
   to space out activities requiring            to repair any leaky faucets                  *Don’t use your toilet as a trash
   heavy water use over several                 or toilets.                                  can or poison your septic system
   days. Also, divert roof drains,                                                           and the groundwater by pouring
   surface water, and sump pumps                                                             harmful chemicals and cleansers
                   away from the                *Do divert other sources of                  down the drain. Harsh chemicals
                       drainfield.              water, like roof drains, house               can kill the beneficial bacteria
                                                footing drains, and sump pumps,              that treat your wastewater.
                                                away from the septic system.
                                                Excessive water keeps the soil
                                                                                             *Don’t use a garbage disposal
              Reprint                           in the drainfield from naturally
                                                                                             without checking with your local
                                                cleansing the wastewater.
               Info                                                                          regulatory agency to make sure
         Readers are encouraged to                                                           that your septic system can
       reprint Pipeline articles in local       *Don’t go down into a septic                 accommodate this additional
     newspapers or include them in fly-         tank. Toxic gases are produced by            waste.
    ers, newsletters, or educational pre-       the natural treatment processes
 sentations. Please include the name and        in septic tanks and can kill in
        phone number of the National            minutes. Extreme care should be              *Don’t allow backwash from
 Environmental Service Center (NESC) on                                                      home water softeners to enter the
  the reprinted information and send us a       taken when inspecting a septic
                                                tank, even when just looking in.             septic system.
copy for our files. If you have any questions
  about reprinting articles or about any of
  the topics discussed in this newsletter,         The Summer 2004 issue of Pipeline provides more
         please contact the NESC at
              (800) 624-8301.                       information about septic tanks for homeowners.
                                                                                                                                           7
                                                                         National Environmental Services Center (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191

				
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