Jefferson County, Colorado – Whether it’s eating broccoli, going to the dentist, or getting a checkup, we all know there are things we need to do to take care of ourselves and our body systems. When we don’t take care of our bodies, they don’t work the way they should. Our homes and buildings are no different.
September 19-23, 2022 is SepticSmart Week, an annual event focused on educating homeowners and communities about the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems (also known as on-site wastewater treatment systems). This week on SepticSmart, JCPH wants to make sure all on-site septic system owners in the county have a full set of tools in their toolbox to be good septic owners.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) defines a septic system as an underground wastewater treatment structure typically used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat waste water from all domestic plumbing, such as bathrooms, kitchen drains and laundries. A well-maintained on-site wastewater treatment system, just like any other system in your home, requires maintenance and monitoring.
To make sure your septic system is in tip-top shape, start by counting to three:
- Avoid putting anything other than water and human waste into your system. Items such as cooking oil or grease, food waste, harsh cleaning agents – such as bleach, non-biodegradable products, medicines and other household chemicals should not be disposed of in your septic system.
- Dispose of non-biodegradable items such as dental floss, disposable wipes, or cat litter in the trash instead of washing them. Other products, such as potato peelings, coffee grounds, and eggshells, do not decompose quickly, so they should also be discarded or composted rather than thrown away.
- Inspect your septic system regularly. It is recommended to have the tank cleaned and pumped by a licensed septic system maintenance company at least every two to four years or as needed. At least once a year, clean all filters, check the pump or dosing siphon and any other equipment that may need service.
“Water is a precious resource in Colorado and Jeffco. As we deal with the effects of climate change and drought, it has become even more crucial that we all play our part in protecting the water supply we have. By ensuring our on-site wastewater treatment systems are properly cared for and maintained, we can protect our health and water quality,” said Mitch Brown, Environmental Health Supervisor. “Together we can protect our groundwater and drinking water supplies not just for today, but for tomorrow and for generations to come.”
About 35,000 septic systems are in use in Jefferson County. Many residents in mountain communities or those with properties in more isolated areas of the county may rely on septic systems for waste disposal. The liquid waste or sewage discharged from these systems is often part of the water that recharges the groundwater resources that provide water for drinking water wells. In 2021, Jefferson County issued 116 permits for new systems, approximately 100 permits for renovations, and 56 permits for expansions. We have also issued over 1,000 use permits for transfer of ownership.
For more information about on-site wastewater treatment systems in Jefferson County, including care, maintenance and permitting information, visit JCPH On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems. To learn more about SepticSmart Week, visit EPA SepticSmart Week [external link].
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent disease and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting lifelong health for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH, visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health [external link]. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH [external link]Instagram @JeffcoPH [external link] and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth [external link].