SEPTIC SYSTEMS


Leaking or poorly maintained septic systems are a very dangerous form of pollution.  Septic systems work with the surrounding soil to filter the liquid layer of waste from a private home.  When the system is broken or has completely failed, solid, undigested particles of waste leach into the soil.  This severely disrupts the balanced process of absorption and filtering causing harmful bacteria, excess nutrients, and active viruses to travel into the groundwater.  The leakage can also cause the liquid waste to bubble up to the surface, causing yards to become contaminated and even flood with liquid waste. 

Stormwater runoff can easily carry the liquid waste to the storm drains and directly to the local water ways.  These excess nutrients and pathogens are not only hazardous to wildlife and detrimental to water quality, but they also pose a public health risk. The US Environmental Protection Agency warns that when a person comes in contact with septic system contaminated water, they are at risk of developing eye or ear infections, gastrointestinal disease, or even hepatitis.

In order to avoid risking public health and damaging the ecosystems, the EPA suggests having septic systems inspected every 3 years and emptied as needed.  Additionally, it is important never to dispose of hazardous waste in sinks or toilets. 

See the Madera County Liquid Waste webpage for more info on hazardous waste. 

Septic System