Jefferson County, Colo. — Whether it’s eating broccoli, going to the dentist or getting a physical, we all know there are things we must do to take care of ourselves and the systems in our body. When we don’t take care of our bodies, they don’t work the way they are supposed to. Our homes and buildings are no different.
Sept. 19-23, 2022 is SepticSmart Week, an annual event focused on educating homeowners and communities on the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems (also known as onsite wastewater treatment systems). This SepticSmart week, JCPH wants to make sure all the onsite wastewater treatment 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, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from all household plumbing, such as that from bathrooms, kitchen drains and laundry. A well-maintained onsite wastewater treatment system, just like every other system in your home, requires upkeep 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 like cooking oils or grease, food wastes, harsh cleaners such as bleach, non-degradable products, medications and other household chemicals should not be disposed of in your septic system.
- Discard non-degradable products, like floss, disposable wipes or cat litter, into the trash can instead of flushing them. Other products, like potato peels, coffee grounds and eggshells don’t decompose quickly, so they should also be thrown out or composted rather than put into the disposal.
- Have your septic system checked routinely. Having the tank cleaned and pumped by a licensed septic system maintenance company, is recommended at least every two to four years, or when necessary. At least once a year, clean any filters, check your pump or dosing siphon and any other equipment that may need servicing.
“Water is a precious resource in Colorado and Jeffco. As we deal with effects of climate change and drought, it has become even more crucial we all play our role in protecting the water supply we have. By ensuring proper care and maintenance of our onsite wastewater treatment systems, we can protect our health and water quality,” said Mitch Brown, Environmental Health Supervisor. “Together we can protect our groundwater supply and drinking water not only for today, but also for tomorrow and the future generations.”
In Jefferson County, there are an estimated 35,000 septic systems in use. Many residents in mountain communities or those with properties in more secluded areas of the county may rely on septic systems for waste disposal. The liquid waste or sewage discharged from these systems often is part of the water that recharges groundwater resources, which provide water to drinking water wells. In 2021, Jefferson County issued 116 permits for new systems, approximately 100 permits for repairs and 56 permits for expansions. In addition, we issued over 1,000 use permits for transfer of titles.
For more information on onsite wastewater treatment systems in Jefferson County, including information on care, maintenance and permitting, visit JCPH On-Site Waste Water 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 illness 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 health across the lifespan 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].