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Be Septic Smart

SepticSmart Week September 16-20, 2024

The average lifespan of a septic system is 15 to 40 years, but it can last longer if properly maintained!

  • Think at the sink. Consider what you put into your toilet and sink and the impact it may have on your system. Many common household items can either clog your system or kill the microbes that treat the wastewater.

    • “Cloggers” include diapers, baby wipes, cat litter, cigarettes, coffee grounds, grease, and feminine hygiene products.

    • “Killers” include household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, paint, and high amounts of anti-bacterial soaps and detergents.

  • Don’t strain your drain.

    • The less water you use, the less your septic system has to work. Stagger the use of appliances, use high efficiency plumbing fixtures, and repair any leaks in your home.

    • For more information, go to

  • Shield your field.

    • Keep your car and anything heavier than your lawnmower off your drainfield.

    • Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal. This will significantly reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic system and could clog your drainfield.

    • Plant trees away from the drainfield since tree roots can clog the field and cause the system to fail.

    • Keep excess water from irrigation, significant rainfall, or drains off the drainfield.

A typical septic system should be inspected every three to five years by a septic system service provider. The tank should be pumped as recommended by the service provider or as required by your town, county, or state. Generally, you can plan to have the tank pumped approximately every three to five years. Just like changing the oil in your car, preventive septic system maintenance will extend the life of your system for a small cost compared to the cost of replacing the system.


EGLE is offering a free seminar on "Knowing Your Septic System" for SepticSmart Week 2023 at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 19th. Learn how your system works and avoid costly repairs, click here to register

Download a helpful background on septic systems and checklist for inspections here.

Learn more about the Ingham County Point of Sale program here.

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