SepticSmart Week intends to raise awareness about septic systems

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- On Monday, Sept. 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – along with federal, state and local government and private sector partners – will kick off its sixth annual SepticSmart Week to encourage homeowners and communities learn more about, and properly maintain their septic systems. SepticSmart week runs Sept. 17 though Sept. 23

More than 26 million homes in the U.S. – or one in five households – depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. Locally, Skagit County Public Health tracks the status of more than 18,000 on-site sewage systems (OSS). If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household toxics to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health and the environment and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs.

Look for tips on the SepticSmart Week website (www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthEnvironmental/septicsmart.htm) and on Skagit County social media pages to help you better understand and protect your septic system:

1. Protect it and inspect it! Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars and protect public health.

2. Think at the sink! What goes down your drain has a big impact on your septic system. Avoid harsh chemicals and use cleaners and detergents in moderation.

3. Don’t overload the commode! A toilet is not a trash can. Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, cat litter and much more can damage your septic system.

4. Pump your tank! Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and or local permitting authority.

5. Don’t strain your drain! Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances (such as washing machines and dishwashers) to avoid a backup of your septic system into your house.

6. Shield your field! Tree and shrub roots, cars and livestock can damage your drainfield.

7. Keep it clean! If you have a well, many things can contaminate your drinking water, such as a failing septic system. Test your well water regularly!

Find more information online at www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthEnvironmental/onsitesewer.htm and at poopsmart.org/septic-system-owners/. For questions or more details, please contact Samantha Russell at srussell@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-416-1566.