On-site wastewater treatment systems are a popular method of disposing of sewage in the United States, especially in rural areas that do not have readily available sewer lines. About 25% of the US population owns an on-site wastewater treatment system, according to the National Environmental Services Center. If you are the owner of an on-site wastewater treatment system, you must take steps to ensure you are not causing damage to your property, your family, the environment, and the property and families of those around you.

Septic system diagram

Maintenance is a Must!

Installing an on-site wastewater treatment system on your property can be much more beneficial to the environment than running miles of sewer lines to your property. Unfortunately, in many cases, once an on-site wastewater treatment system is installed, it is often forgotten until it malfunctions. When the system is installed on your property, you are the one responsible for it. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), about 10-20% of on-site wastewater treatment systems malfunction each year. More often than not, system malfunction or failure is nearly always a result of improper maintenance by the owner.

System Failure

An on-site wastewater treatment system can fail for a number of reasons, but usually point to improper maintenance by the owner. Not having your system inspected often enough can cause the owner to miss key factors contributing to a wastewater treatment system failure.

What Can I Do?

Properly maintaining your on-site wastewater system will not only save you money in the long run, it’s also important for protecting groundwater supplies and ensuring safe drinking water for you, your family, and your neighbors. According to the National Environmental Services Center, systems should be inspected every 1-2 years by a professional and pumped when necessary.


If maintained correctly, your wastewater treatment system can be beneficial and environmentally-friendly, but without regular maintenance, it has the potential to affect groundwater supplies and cause harm you and those around you. Having your wastewater treatment system regularly inspected and pumped can avoid unnecessary expenses, damage to your property, damage to neighbor’s properties, damage to the environment, and damage to the health of you, your family, and families around your property.