LONGVIEW, Washington — In recognition of “SepticSmart Week” September 20-24, Cowlitz County Health & Human Services will join public agencies and private partners across the nation in educating the community about septic system care.
The annual event was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of its ongoing effort to reduce health and water quality problems that result from poorly maintained septic systems. In July, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee declared September 20-24 as “SepticSmart Week” and encouraged it be observed statewide.
About a third of the state’s population relies on septic systems to treat wastewater from homes and businesses. Systems that are not regularly maintained pose a risk to people’s health and the environment. In Cowlitz County, residents can benefit from the Septic System Loan Program, called Craft3, for help with costs associated with repairing and replacing failed septic systems.
During “SepticSmart Week,” Cowlitz County Health & Human Services will share information from the EPA on its Facebook page that community members and local organizations can use to inform decisions about their own septic systems, including:
• Protect it and inspect it. A typical septic system should be serviced every 1-3 years by a septic service professional.
• Pump your tank. Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional.
• Keep it clean. If you are on a well, test your drinking water regularly to ensure it remains clean and free of contamination.
• Don’t strain your drain. Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances, such as your washing machine or dishwasher.
• Don’t overload the commode. Don’t flush diapers, wipes, or other items meant for a trashcan down the toilet.
• Think at the sink. Limit use of your garbage disposal and avoid pouring fats, grease, solids, and harsh chemicals down the drain.
• Shield your field. Divert rain and surface water away and avoid parking vehicles and planting trees on your drainfield.
More information about how septic systems work and how they can be properly maintained can be found on the EPA’s website: https://bit.ly/3AhZByM. To learn about Cowlitz County Health & Human Services’ on-site sewage program, visit: https://bit.ly/3EoGaXQ.