Wastewater / Sewage
Your Health at Home
What are the Health Effects?
Wastewater/sewage can be harmful to humans because it contains disease-causing organisms and toxins. It must go through a treatment process, otherwise it can pollute surface water, groundwater sources and even drinking water.
Tips - What can you do?
If you have a piped system and if there is an interruption in water service, when service resumes, run water to flush the line to ensure no contamination remains in the system.
If you have a septic tank and leaching bed, here are some tips to keep your family safe.
- Do not build anything on top of the leaching bed, such as parking areas, deck or storage shed.
- Do not drive vehicles or machinery over the bed, as the weight could crush the distribution pipes or pack down the soil, even in winter.
- Make sure the ground over the leaching bed has a good cover of grass or very shallow rooted plants.
- Do not plant trees or shrubs near the leaching bed.
- The leaching bed should be built such that water does not pool around it. If water does start to pool, contact your Environmental Health Officer for advice.
- Make sure you have easy access to your septic tank.
- Complete maintenance regularly.
- Have your septic tank pumped out every three to five years or when 1/3 of the tank is filled with solids (sludge).You will need a licensed professional to pump and dispose of the waste.
- If your system has effluent filters, clean them out on a regular basis. How often you clean them depends on the filter type and size and the amount of water used in your household.
- Be careful what you put into your septic system.
- Do not pour paints, solvents, thinners, nail polish remover, or other common household products, medicines or antibiotics down the drain or into your toilet. Doing this could kill the bacteria that break down the organic matter in the wastewater.
- Never put oils, grease, fat, disposable diapers, tampons and their applicators, condoms, cat box litter, plastics, cigarette filters, egg shells, or other kitchen waste into the septic system. Solids are not digested and can block your system or shorten its life.
- Try to control the amount of water that enters your septic system by reducing the amount of water you use. Some good ways to reduce use are to fix leaky faucets, repair running toilets, and use low-flow toilets.