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"Septic Smart Week" an opportunity to educate Delawareans on proper septic care

Delaware Public Media

Governor Markell signed a proclamation declaring last week “Septic Smart Week.” The aim is to send a message to Delawareans about proper septic system care.


But Jack Hayes, the program manager for Delaware's Division of Water, said proper septic system care should be noted year-round.


This past week was an opportunity to get the word out to homeowners and communities to take care of their septic systems. Hayes said for Delawareans, owning a septic system is an investment (often as high as $20,000), so they should understand how to take care of it.


"Beware and be cautious of what you’re putting down your plumbing," Hayes said. "Fats, greases, oils, those types of things. They clog the pipes for one thing but they also clog the soils and they also can harm the soils as far as the treatment capacity of the soil."


The state has more than 70,000 septic systems treating wastewater for businesses and homes.


"On average, we generally say most septic systems last around 20-25 years," Hayes said. "Certainly with proper maintenance and care they may last even longer. It's important to take care of your investment."


Hayes adds proper maintenance is especially important in areas with high tourism where there is a public sewer and wastewater treatment plant. But individual homes may not have the time or money to treat their wastewater. Hayes says this is why awareness is important.


The Division of Water recommends that homeowners have their septic tanks inspected and pump by a licensed professional every three years.