Septic Systems

Basics of Septic Systems, 101 Video

Caring for Your Septic System

Do-It-Yourself Septic System Inspection Video

Hiring a Septic System Professional

Septic Tank Lid Safety

Signs of Septic System Failure

Common in rural areas without centralized sewer systems, septic systems (or on-site sewage systems) are underground wastewater treatment structures that you own and operate. Septic systems use a combination of nature and time-tested technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.

Why You Should Maintain Your Septic System

Saves You Money – Regular maintenance fees of a few hundred dollars every few years is a bargain compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a malfunctioning septic system, which can cost thousands.

Keeps You and Your Neighbors Healthy – Household wastewater is loaded with disease-causing bacteria and viruses, as well as high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. A properly functioning septic system helps remove these pollutants so well water and nearby surface water doesn't get contaminated.

Protects the Environment – Malfunctioning septic systems release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that eventually enter streams, rivers, lakes, Puget Sound, and the ocean. The pollutants harm local ecosystems by killing native plants, fish, and shellfish.

Protects Your Property Value – An unusable septic system or one in disrepair will lower your property value and poses a potentially costly legal liability.

External Resources

Local Health Department – Your local health agency can help you locate your septic system, provide a list of certified septic pumpers, and if available, certify you to do your own septic system inspections.

SepticSmart – EPA offers advice on proper septic care and brochures and factsheets for homeowners.

Craft3's Clean Water Loans - Septic system repair and replacement loans for homeowners. Lower interest rates may be available for qualified lower-income borrowers, and there are no up-front loan fees or pre-payment penalties.