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Do Your Part, Be SepticSmart

DCoDPH to recognize September 17-21 as SepticSmart Week

Post Date:09/17/2018 2:42 PM

DURHAM, N.C. – The Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH) would like to recognize September 17-21 as SepticSmart Week.  Proper septic system use and routine care are important in protecting public health and preserving Durham County groundwater, lakes, and waterways. Nearly 12,00 onsite septic systems in Durham County treat wastewater from homes and businesses.

“Preserving your septic system is inexpensive and protects your family and community from unnecessary illnesses if homeowners are using their system properly.  Your system may affect the quality of water for your family, neighbors, and ultimately your community if not properly maintained,” said Chris Salter, environmental health director, DCoDPH.  “Any septic systems that are not in compliance may be subject to notices of violation with State law.  We urge all Durham County residents with septic systems to pay attention to what they flush or pour into their drains and pump their tanks regularly.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), follow these tips to conserve your septic tank:

  • Do not overload the commode.A toilet is not a trashcan.Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, cat litter and much more can damage your septic system.
  • Do not strain your drain.Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances (such as a washing machine) to avoid a backup of your septic system into your house.
  • Keep it clean.If you have a well, many things can contaminate your drinking water, such as a failing septic system.Test your well water regularly.
  • Pump your tank.Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority.
  • Protect it and inspect it.Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars and protect public health.
  • Shield your field.Tree and shrub roots, cars, and livestock can damage your drain field.
  • Think at the sink.What goes down your drain has a big impact on your septic system.Avoid harsh chemicals and use cleaners/detergents in moderation.

DCoDPH On-Site Water Protection staff evaluate land to determine suitability for onsite ground absorption sewage disposal (septic tank) and/or private water supply wells.  Septic permits and well permits are issued after site and soil evaluations are performed and the site meets applicable conditions.

If you have any questions about your septic system, take the Countywide Septic System Maintenance Survey or call 919.560.7800.  Visit to learn more about the DCoDPH On-Site Water Protection program and for more EPA regulatory information.

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