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Sep 24, 2015

Considering Septic Systems

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated Sept. 21 to 25 as SepticSmart Week. This week, the agency and its partners are working to raise awareness of the importance of properly maintaining and caring for septic systems. According to EPA, approximately 20% of U.S. households and 33% of new construction are served by septic systems or other onsite wastewater treatment systems.

EPA’s adage to homeowners is that if they “flush and forget” their septic systems, overflows and other issues may occur. And although many of you likely deal primarily with drinking water rather than wastewater, it is an important reminder for all water treatment professionals not to flush and forget septic systems as well—especially as regulatory issues pertaining to softener brine discharge into septic systems persist in several states.

The Water Quality Research Foundation’s Environmental Impact Study demonstrated in 2013 that brine discharge from high-efficiency softeners does not harm septic systems. At its Mid-Year Leadership Conference at the beginning of September, the Water Quality Assn. provided updates on three states it is working with—Illinois, Delaware and Connecticut—to updates regulatory codes to allow discharge into septic systems from high-efficiency softeners.

Regardless of your state’s regulations, it is important to consider a home’s entire water system, including wastewater disposal, when recommending water treatment equipment. That extra consideration at the outset will help you and the homeowner avoid headaches down the road.

What challenges have you encountered when specifying and installing water treatment systems for homes that use septic systems? Tell us about them in the comments, or email us at [email protected].