Septic Systems In Spring

The birds are chirping, and the weather is warming. These are sure signs that spring is upon us! While we are relishing in the long overdue warmth, our septic system may be struggling. Spring rains and snow melts along with temperature fluctuations can cause problems with your septic system. Fortunately, there are thing you can do to prevent problems before they occur.

Flooded drain fields are a common issue in the spring. Especially, if your yard has poor drainage and heavy soils. When the drain field is flooded, it can become unable to properly treat wastewater. This can cause contaminated groundwater and surfacing of sewage in your yard. To avoid a flooded drain field, make sure your yard has proper drainage and redirect gutters and drains. Also, make sure your sump pump and water softener are not discharging into the septic tank to avoid overloading the system.

Springtime rains make your septic system work extra hard. If your septic tank is close to full during this time, the system becomes unable to properly treat and dispose of wastewater. It may also cause permanent damage to the system causing it to prematurely fail. To address this, it is important to pump your septic tank before springtime rains. Conserving water by spreading out laundry and fixing leaks is also advised.

If you are already experiencing backed up drains and showing signs of trouble, such as ponding in the yard, it is not too late. Your first task should be to have your septic tank pumped. This will give your drain field a chance to catch up on filtering the backed-up water. Once your tank is empty, it would be a good idea to have your drain field evaluated to ensure it can still properly treat wastewater. Septic systems are designed to last 30 to 40 years. If your system is older, it may be time to have an evaluation.

Shiawassee County homeowners located in the Maple River Watershed may be eligible to participate in the Septic System Assistance Program. Water in this area has been found to be contaminated by human waste. To help address this issue, the Conservation District is working to assist homeowners, by providing information and financial assistance to replace failing septic systems.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this assistance to homeowners. This unique program provides support and peace of mind knowing that your septic system is working properly, and your family is protected.” states Josh Crambell, Shiawassee Conservation District Board Chairman.

To learn more about the Septic System Assistance Program, or find out if you are eligible, contact the Shiawassee Conservation District at (989) 723-8263, ext. 3.

Pictured above: Telltale signs of septic system failure include those seen here, such as ponding, lush vegetation, and algae growth.

The Septic System Assistance Program is a part of a larger effort by the Conservation District to address nonpoint source pollution in the Maple River Watershed. Funding for this program comes from a Conservation District grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Nonpoint Source Program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.