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Septic Smart Week aims to educate public

More than 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan rely on septic systems to treat wastewater.
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 4:00 PM EDT
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QUINNESEC, Mich. (WLUC) -Gov. Whitmer has proclaimed Sept. 14 through 18, 2020 as septic smart week. This is because more than 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan rely on septic systems to treat wastewater.

The Dickinson Iron District Health Department’s Environment Health Director Wade Dishaw, says he wants everyone to know how a septic system works.

“What it does, is a single septic line, that goes out into the tank for the household for all water usage, that’s done inside of the house,” said Dishaw.

Jason Nueuns, the foreman for Ed Neuens Excavating & Sanitation, is all too familiar with these systems.

“Watch what you put into it,” he said.

Neuens says don’t put anything into your system that you don’t eat. That means don’t put coffee grounds, and even cigarette butts down the toilet.

“Anything that you put in like that, just doesn’t break down into the system. It will cause problems later on,” said Neuens.

That also means you shouldn’t flush medication. Dishaw says this can also create an environmental Hazard.

“We don’t want to have raw septic sewage, come in the ground’s surface, or roll down into any waterways,” he said.

Living in Upper Michigan, it’s important that outdoor materials stay clear of the tank.

“A lot of times, roots, especially maple trees, can get into tanks that aren’t sealed properly,” said Sodergren Septic Service president, Ryan Carey.

Carey says to stagger water use throughout the day. So, don’t shower, do laundry or run the dishwasher all at the same time.

“You don’t want to have any leaky fixtures, because that’s going to affect the amount of water.” He added.

Carey says staying up to date with your tank, could save you money.

“Usually, we recommend every 2-3 years, that we pump your tank and check it out,” said Carey.

If you don’t know where your septic tank is, or if you have one, the Health Department has records for many and they will help.

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