Is Your Septic System Functioning Properly?

Most landowners in the Conewago watershed rely on onlot septic systems to treat their sewage. A malfunctioning septic system can cause huge problems. “In addition to requiring costly repairs, malfunctioning systems can contaminate surface and groundwaters, cause various health problems, and spread disease as well as create unsightly messes and foul odors when raw sewage surfaces or backs up into the home,” states Pennsylvania’s department of Environmental Protection. Many farmers in the watershed have taken the initiative to fence their cows out of the streams so their manure isn’t being dumped directly into the water. Making sure septic systems are keeping human waste out of the water is also important.

Some signs that your system might not be working properly include:

  • toilets running sluggish
  • wet soil around any part of the system
  • sewer smells in or around the house.

To continue functioning properly, septic systems need to be pumped every 3-5 years in order to remove all of the accumulated sludge.

For more information about onlot systems and ways to help keep your system functioning properly see the DEP’s factsheet on Onlot System operation and maintenance:

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=554156&mode=2

Most of us don’t think about where our waste goes on a daily basis, but hopefully this article will remind you to think about making sure your system is functioning properly or make you appreciative of your public sewer.

For additional information relating to septic systems and sewage disposal, check out the following link:

http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/septic-systems