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Keep Your Septic System Safe

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Septic system safety begins with you

Keep yourself and your family safe by maintaining your septic system. Every year, injuries occur when people fall through crumbled tanks or unsecured lids. Most tanks are deep enough that they can even cause drowning. Drainfield failures and surfacing sewage can also make you very sick.

The good news is regular maintenance and safety measures help keep septic systems safe and environmentally friendly. Follow these simple guidelines to keep your system running safely and properly:

  • Know where your septic system is located—If you’re unsure of where your septic system and drainfield are, contact the Health Department at (253) 798-6577 or look up record drawings to locate your system.

    • Knowing this information helps avoid:
      • Children and pets from playing around septic tank lids.
      • Construction of structures over the drain field.
      • Cars and heavy equipment damaging your drain field.

  • Walk your property routinely, and take steps to address health and safety risks—Check the drainfield and down slope areas for broken equipment, holes, odors, wet spots or surfacing sewage.

  • Cover your tank openings with durable lids, secured in place—Check for damages and cracks. Plastic lids should be securely screwed into the risers.

  • Don't let kids play near septic tank lids—Kids are naturally curious and love to explore outdoors. But playing around the septic tank or trying to open the lid can be dangerous. Kids or pets can be seriously injured from falls into or around the tank, and exposure to bacteria can cause health risks.

  • Have your system inspected regularly by a septic service professional certified by Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department—Inspections ensure the system is safe and operating properly. They also let you know if pumping is needed.

Not only will these tips keep your family safe, they also:

  • Help prevent costly repairs by catching problems early.
  • Protect ground, surface and drinking water from contamination.
  • Prevent bacterial pollution from entering Puget Sound directly or through storm water run-off into creeks and streams.
  • Keep shellfish harvested from public waters safe to eat.

Questions?

Contact Onsite at ehsepticsystems@tpchd.org or (253) 798-4788.