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SepticSmart Week Emphasizes Home and Environmental Protection

September 10, 2015

Third annual event Sept. 21-25 highlights regular maintenance, safety education and financial assistance
When you have your septic system inspected and maintained regularly, and follow safety guidelines, you protect your family, your community and the environment. It’s a familiar message from Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department that’s getting special emphasis during the Environmental Protection Agency’s third annual SepticSmart Week, Sept. 21-25.

“Timely septic inspections and repairs, along with knowing the basics of septic system safety, are things we emphasize all year-round. But during SepticSmart Week, we want to ensure people realize how all these elements keep our environment healthy — and that we have several financial assistance programs to help them along the way,” said Gary Porter, program manager.

Properly operating septic systems can protect ground, surface and drinking water from contamination. They also help prevent bacterial pollution from entering Puget Sound directly or through storm water run-off into creeks and streams. Another benefit of regular inspections is that shellfish harvested from public waters remain safe to eat. Inspections also can reveal safety issues, such as faulty septic lids.

Safety Guidelines

To increase septic safety, property owners should follow these guidelines:
  • Know where your septic system and drain field are located — If you’re unsure, contact the Health Department at (253) 798-6577 or log on at to obtain your property’s record drawing.
  • Walk your property routinely to observe potential safety or health risks and take steps to address them Check the drain field and down slope areas for broken equipment, holes, odors, wet spots or surfacing sewage.
  • Make sure your septic tank lid(s) properly cover the opening and are secure and durable — Check for damage, weakness and cracks to prevent injuries and falls into the tank.
  • Other safety measures — Prevent children and pets from playing around the septic tank. Avoid building structures over the drain field, or parking cars or heavy equipment on the drain field.
Financial Assistance for inspections and repairs

The Health Department offers a variety of innovative financial assistance programs to help property owners get inspections and repairs completed on their septic systems. Up to $450 is available to Key Peninsula residents through the incentive program at, and a number of regional organizations provide affordable loans for septic repairs, including the Clean Water Loan program through Craft3. More information about loan resources is available at

An inspection by a septic system professional will determine if pumping is needed and can help identify safety risks. Find a list of certified septic service professionals at

More Information

Visit the Health Department page at for more information about the Septic System Program. For more about the EPA’s SepticSmart Week, visit


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