septicsmart_weekThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fourth annual SepticSmart Week is being observed this week, and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is using the occasion to remind Hoosiers to maintain their septic systems all year long.

SepticSmart Week is a chance to help inform homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance. According to the EPA, more than one in five households in the United States, or 60 million people, depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater. In Indiana, about 11,000 septic systems are installed each year. Proper maintenance of these systems is a vital part of protecting public health. Poor maintenance can cause system back-ups and overflows that can lead to costly repairs, polluted local waterways and risks to public health and the environment.

“Having a properly working and maintained septic system is very important,” said Mike Mettler, REHS, director of Environmental Public Health at ISDH. “If your home has a septic system, treat it like an asset; some minimal maintenance can ensure proper function from your system for years to come.”

Septic system owners are responsible for maintaining their onsite wastewater treatment systems. SepticSmart Week provides homeowners an opportunity to learn everyday tips that will help them properly use and maintain their systems and protect their investments in their homes.

Homeowners with septic systems are urged to follow these tips:

  • Have systems inspected every three years by a licensed contractor and have tanks pumped every three to five years, or more frequently if necessary.
  • Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain.
  • Monitor water use and spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day. Too much water at once can overload a system.
  • Fix plumbing leaks and consider installing faucet aerators.
  • Never park or drive on a system’s absorption field, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

The EPA’s SepticSmart program promotes proper septic system use and maintenance all year long. Industry practitioners, local governments, homeowners and community organizations can learn more about septic systems at