Take Action: What You Can Do

Septic Systems 101

Check Your Septic Systems

Improperly functioning septic systems can have a devastating effect on water quality. Failing Septic Systems are the source of 5-10% of the phosphorus that reaches lakes. In a lake, phosphorus acts as plant food and nourishes aquatic plants and bacteria. The water can become cloudy and green, leading to taste and odor problems, and dissolved oxygen levels are reduced, resulting in impacts to fish and other organisms that live there. As a result, lake use may decrease and property values can plummet.

What You Can Do

Have your tank cleaned every 3 to 5 years and remove trees and shrubs from your leach field. Ask your septic company to check for cracks and any damage.

Four Signs of a Failing Septic System

  1. Sewage odor near the septic tank or leach field
  2. Standing water over the tank or leach field
  3. Slow running drains and toilets
  4. A patch of bright green grass over the leach field in the winter, or lush green growth in the summer when other grass is slow-growing


Regular septic tank pumping and inspection will prolong the life of your septic system. Keep in mind that a septic system costs less than $300 to pump but $12,000 or more to replace and can affect the resale of your property.

Download Handbook:

Septic Systems: How they Work and How to Keep them Working

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