Faulty Septic Systems Can Pollute Stormwater

During a rainfall, water runs across rooftops, down driveways, streets and across parking lots and yards, picking up substances along the way. This stormwater “runoff” may contain materials like septic system wastewater, soil, chemical fertilizer, pet waste, litter, automotive fluids and yard waste such as leaves and grass clippings. Runoff then washes down storm drains, eventually reaching local rivers and streams where it can pose significant risks to people and wildlife. Since this stormwater runoff is not treated before flowing into local streams, rivers, and lakes; most people never think about this stormwater runoff causing water pollution. But as the water flows; this stormwater runoff may collect and transport septic system wastewater.

The EPA estimates 25% of homes use septic systems. Over 4 billion gallons of wastewater per day is dispersed below ground into septic systems. As well as polluting the ground and ground water; an improper septic system can overflow onto the ground & can flow into storm drains.

What can residents do to help to prevent their septic systems from causing this pollution?

  • If you have a septic system have it inspected and pumped by a licensed contractor on a routine schedule, generally 3 years or less
  • If necessary, fix or replace your faulty septic system with a licensed contractor.
  • Fix faulty toilets as you can waste 200 gallons of water that goes to your septic system each day.
  • Wash loads of clothes over several days so you don’t run so much water thru your septic system at one time.
  • Don’t plant trees and shrubs over or near your septic system.
  • Don’t drive or park vehicles over any part of your septic system.
  • Not all items should be disposed of in your septic system.

For more information about septic systems, click here.

For more information about Stormwater, click here.