Septic System Education Program
What Is a Septic System?
It is an on-site sewage management system that includes an underground tank and drainfield. Approximately 25% of households in Athens-Clarke County use one.
Septic systems differ from sewer systems. Sewer systems pipe wastewater directly to treatment plants managed by the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department.
4 Ways You Can Protect Your Septic System
1. Know Your System
- How many gallons does it hold?
- Where are the tank and drainfield located?
- How old is yours?
- When was it last inspected and/or pumped?
If you don't know the answer to the first three questions, contact the Clarke County Health Department's Environmental Health Section at 706-583-2658.
You or the homeowner should know the answer to the last question. If not, it's probably time to contact a certified plumber or septic tank service.
2. Use Water Wisely
- Don’t overload the system - Using more water than the soil can absorb leads to failure.
- Conserve water - Fix leaks and drips. Replace old fixtures with new “low flow” types. Look for WaterSense labeled products.
- Reduce the flow through the tank - This allows more time for solids to settle out.
- Limit water use during rain - The drainfield is saturated, reducing the absorption rate.
3. Toilets & Sinks Are Not Trash Cans
Septic systems treat human waste and wastewater from toilets, showers, sinks, dishwashers, etc.... not garbage.
- Additives and enzymes - These do not prevent the need for recommended maintenance and pumping schedules.
- Pee, Poop & (Toilet) Paper - These three ‘P’s are all that should go down the toilet.
- Garbage disposals - Their use is not recommended, as they can double the amount of solids in wastewater.
4. Regular & Preventative Maintenance is the Key
- Check every 3 - 5 years* - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends septic systems be inspected and pumped regularly.
- Failure is not an option - Do not wait for the system to fail before pumping. By then it is usually too late and repairs are more costly.
- Certified professional - Hire only certified professionals to inspect, pump, and repair your septic system.
* - Depending on size, number in household, and water use
Athens-Clarke County Septic System Education
- General information about septic system education
- Referral to agencies that deal with septic system issues
- Waterway testing
Clarke County Health Department Environmental Health Section
189 Paradise Boulevard
Athens, GA 30607
- Handles septic system:
- Subdivision reviews
- Commercial & residential plan reviews
- Site evaluations
- Complaint investigations of repairs
- Existing system evaluations
- Permits for system construction
- Septic system installation inspections