admin on April 14th, 2011

From our files (1990):

As shoreline or adjacent property owners, maintaining your septic system requires more care and responsibility than it would elsewhere.  Nutrients from septic systems play a major role in causing excessive plant and algae growth in lakes.  Wastewater from your septic system that reaches adjacent surface waters also increases the chance of swimmers contracting a variety of infectious diseases that are associated with septic wastes.

You can do many things to help prevent the problems associatied with septic systems near shoreline areas.

1.  Regularly pump and maintain your septic system.  We urge you to have your tank pumped on a yearly basis.  Many lakeside systems remain old, poorly designed, and undersized due to conversion of a seasonal residence to year-round use.

2.  Conserve water in your home.

3.  Redirect surface water flow away from your leaching facility.  Water from driveways, roof downspouts or lawns travels toward the leaching facility, putting an extra load on the system.

4.  Plant a greenbelt away from your leaching facility and the shoreline.  Plant areas of small shrubs and trees to help intercept and absorb some of the nutrients before they reach the shoreline.

5.  Replace your septic system.  Although this is costly, it is sometimes the best alternative.

6.  Use white toilet paper — not colored.  It is more biodegradable.

7.  Do not use a garbage disposal.  This is a major source of clogging a septic system.

8.  Do not put solids or sanitary napkins, paper towels, grease, hair, oil, or coffee grounds down the drain.

9.  Do not put additives into your system.  Medicines, paint, paint thinner, disinfectants, pesticides and acids will only kill the bacteria which is needed to decompose the organic matter.

10. Do not use enzymes or acid for treating your septic tank.

11. Do not plant shrubs or trees with deep roots near your leaching area.

12. Do not allow heavy equipment to drive over the leachng area.