HENDRICKS COUNTY – Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) facilitates National SepticSmart Week to encourage homeowners and communities to take the necessary steps to maintain their septic systems. September 20th, 2021 marks the beginning of this important reminder for all Hendricks County homeowners who have septic systems.
Septic systems are wastewater treatment systems that are used to treat and dispose of wastewater onsite. They are typically used for houses and businesses not served by a centralized public sewer system. Approximately 35% of the homes in Hendricks County are served by a septic system. With this many septic systems in the county, it is crucial that septic system users know how to properly maintain them for a number of safety reasons.
When a septic system is poorly maintained, wastewater that contains dangerous bacteria, viruses, and chemicals leaks from the system and makes its way into water sources that are used by both community members and animals. The spread of these substances can lead to the spread of various infections or illnesses. Proper use of septic systems can reduce the risk of disease transmission and human exposure to pathogens.
“Septic system maintenance falls down into four basic categories: inspect and pump your system frequently, use your water efficiently, properly dispose of your waste, and care for your system’s drainage area,” says Ginger Harrington, Environmental Field Supervisor for HCHD.
To be more specific in these categories, the EPA recommends that all homeowners with septic systems follow these steps to maintain their system and to prevent contamination:
- Have your system inspected every three years by a qualified professional
- Have your septic tank pumped, generally every three to five years
- Avoid pouring harsh products (e.g., oils, grease, chemicals, paint, medications) down the drain
- Discard non-degradable products in the trash (e.g., floss, disposable wipes, cat litter) instead of flushing them
- Use water efficiently to reduce the risk of system failure.
- Keep cars and heavy vehicles parked away from the drainage area and tank
- Repair leaks and use water-efficient fixtures to avoid overloading the system
- Maintain plants and vegetation near the system to ensure roots do not block drains
- Use soaps and detergents that are low-suds, biodegradable, and low- or phosphate-free
For more general information about maintaining a septic system, visit the EPA’s Septic Smart website, https://www.epa.gov/septic. To find permit information on a property’s septic system visit http://hcapps.co.hendricks.in.us/DataWarehouse/ParcelSearch.aspx. Enter property owner name, address, or tax ID number. Scroll down the page for available permitting information. For more information about septic system maintenance and repair in Hendricks County, contact the Hendricks County Health Department at (317) 745-9217.