Septic Systems

Septic systems are commonly installed in areas without public sewer systems and treatment plants. Septic systems are underground structures that treat wastewater from household plumbing (kitchen drains, bathrooms and laundry). Proper installation and maintenance of these systems are important to keep our water clean. Malfunctioning septic systems can release bacteria, viruses and chemicals that end up in our groundwater and surface water. This poses a danger to drinking water and may harm local ecosystems by killing native plants and animals. Each year over one trillion gallons of waste to subsurface and surface water is contributed by failing septic systems.

Causes of Septic Failure:

  • Excessive use of garbage disposal
  • Pouring harmful substances down drains
  • Tree roots clogging pipes
  • Driving over drain field
  • Failure to install according to septic codes
  • Inadequate maintenance practices
  • Unsuitable soil conditions
Tips to Keep Your Septic System Working Well:
  • Avoid using your garbage disposal to process large quantities of wastes
  • Avoid flushing toxins down the drain
  • Avoid watering or planting trees or large shrubs on the leach field
  • Don't flood the system with excessive water use
  • Don't put vehicles or livestock over the leach field
  • Regularly pump out the septic tank and inspect the physical components of the system

To find certified septic system contractors and onsite system professionals in your area contact your local health department:

Bear River Health Department Summit County Health Department
Central Utah Public Health Department Tooele County Health Department
Davis County Health Department Tri-County Health Department
Salt Lake Valley Health Department Utah County Health Department
Southeast Utah Health Department Wasatch County Health Department
Southwest Utah Public Health Department Weber Morgan Health Department

Helpful Resources

SepticSmart (epa)

Managing Your Septic System (brochure)

Septic Systems (factsheet)

Septic Systems (survey)

Septic tank folder (for record keeping)

A Homeowners' Guide to Septic Systems (epa)

Utah Health Departments