SepticSmart Week reminds homeowners about proper care and maintenance of septic tanks


CONTACT: Sherry Bradley
(334) 206-5375
CONTACT: Leigh Willis
(334) 206-5375

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) joins other state and local governments, the private sector, communities, and academia in sponsoring SepticSmart Week 2018 during the week of September 17-21, 2018. This is an annual observance focused on educating homeowners and communities on the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems.

About half of Alabama households and more than one-fifth of U.S. households utilize an individual onsite system or small community cluster septic system to treat their wastewater. These systems treat and dispose of relatively small volumes of wastewater and include a wide range of individual and cluster treatment options to process household and commercial sewage.

Onsite systems provide a cost-effective, long-term option for treating wastewater, particularly in sparsely populated areas. When properly installed, operated and maintained, these systems help protect public health, preserve valuable water resources, and maintain a community’s economic vitality.

To highlight the importance of approved installation and proper maintenance and repair of septic systems, the ADPH is conducting a public education campaign featuring community leader Perman Hardy of Lowndes County. Mrs. Hardy encourages septic tank owners with a series of messages atop gas pumps throughout the state. These are among the key messages she conveys:

  • Have your septic tank pumped every 3 to 5 years.
  • Check with your county health department to learn how to contact certified pumpers.
  • Do not pour harsh products down the drain. These include oils, grease, chemicals, paint and medications.
  • Shield field lines. Do not park or place heavy items on top of your septic tank system’s drain field because the weight could cause damage.
  • To prevent roots from causing failure, do not plant trees on top of your septic tank.
  • Prevent household leaks that can stress your septic tank system. Leaks can add hundreds of extra gallons of water every day.

To help ensure rules to repair or replace malfunctioning systems are followed, ADPH now has a protocol to verify that repairs to septic systems are completed properly. Under the protocol, public health environmentalists search records to determine whether an onsite system has been approved and if there is an Approval for Use document on file. A set of specific guidelines is outlined that includes an application, a fee if applicable, and a plot plan that must be followed.

Please contact the environmental office of your county health department for more information about requirements and approved options for onsite sewage system repair and replacement. Tips to avoid trouble with your system and other information about requirements are available at