Septic System Maintenance
It is also important to know how to maintain and protect your septic system (also known as on-site wastewater treatment system), as sewage can contaminate your drinking water. Septic systems, like private wells, are the homeowner's responsibility. An improperly used or maintained septic system can affect an entire community by causing one or more of the following problems: a breeding area for mosquitoes and other insects, undesirable odors, costly damage caused by sewage backing up inside the home, the spread of serious diseases, and pollution of groundwater, wells, rivers and lakes. Septic systems should be inspected annually for the amount of sludge and solids present. It is recommended that these items should be pumped out every two to three years or more often, if needed. It is imperative that gasses emitted from open septic systems are not inhaled because they are toxic. More information is available from the following sources:
- Illinois EPA's Lake Notes fact sheet, Septic Systems, is available online or as a pdf file. This fact sheet explains and describes the processes and components of the septic system, as well as provide tips to keep your septic system operating properly.
- U.S. EPA, A Homeowner's Guide to Septic Systems.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Cooperative Extension Service, Septic Systems: Operation and Maintenance of On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems.