September is Septic-Smart Month. For everyone that depends on septic tanks and drain fields, here are a few helpful facts as a reminder of the importance in understanding and maintaining a septic system.One-quarter of all U.S. homes have septic systems. If septic systems are not properly maintained, it can hurt the environment, put family members health in jeopardy and possibly flush thousands of dollars down the drain.Many homeowners do not know the age, size, location of their septic tank or when it was last pumped. Regular maintenance fees of about $400 to $500 every three to five years is a bargain compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a conventional system that can cost $5,000 to $12,000 or more. If a more advanced system is required, cost can rise to over $30,000.Septic tank pumping costs may be higher if it has been many years since a system was last pumped as the tank may be full of solids requiring more than one trip for the pumper. A well-maintained system, in addition to being problem free, helps keep property values up and lowers the chance of legal liability issues.The frequency of which an average household system needs to be pumped depends on many factors: how many people live in the home, septic tank size, volume of solids in wastewater and total wastewater generated plus the load rate of the soil (its capacity to absorb and filter water)?It is a great idea to never put anything down drains that could go into a trashcan or compost pile. Another good idea is not to use or at least minimize the use of a garbage disposal.Pharmaceuticals and bleaches can damage septic tank bacteria. Many flushable wipes, though they flush, they do not dissolve and can plug up the system. Coffee grounds and other materials do not dissolve and simply build-up in the bottom of tanks.And FOGS, fats, oils and grease, are a big no-no for septic tanks. They may go down the sink with hot water, but once they cool, they solidify and may plug the lines and will build up in the tank.A more complete list of items to avoid putting into a septic system is available at the Pratt County Environmental Services office, or information can be obtained from Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Go to www.kdheks,gov/nps.To learn even more about sizing a system or proper maintenance and care of a system, please visitwater.epa.gov/infrastructure/septic/septicsmart.cfm. This website will provide valuable detailed information. As they say, The more you knowPratt County is fortunate to have several reputable pumpers in and around the area. Anyone needing help in locating a septic system pumper or who has questions about septic systems can contact Robert Torres at Pratt County Environmental Services at 620-672-4127 or rtorres@prattcounty.org.Page 2 of 2 - Provided by Robert Torres

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