The Environmental Protection Agency has designated the week of September 17-21 SepticSmart Week to encourage the public to pay attention to on-site sewage systems i.e. septic systems.
The Marion County Public Health Department (MCPH) is responsible for monitoring septic systems in Marion County. According to Jason Ravenscroft, supervisor of the pools, septic and wells program for MCPH, proper maintenance of septic systems prevents the spread of disease. “Even functioning septic systems do not have a zero pollutant burden, especially in floodplain areas,” he said in a recent phone interview. He said septic systems work best if there are a couple feet of unsaturated soil below the fingers. Problems occur when you combine a high water table with effluent. “It can add bacteria and nitrates and nutrient pollutants bleeding into river and flood plain can cause problems,” he said. Ravenscroft says his team recommends regular maintenance. “Pump the tank frequently and watch what you put down the drain,” he said. He said the Health Department uses GIS mapping technology to identify areas of Marion County with high risk factors. Using that data, Taylor Gabrysiak, a GIS tech for Health and Hospital Corp. generated the Unsewered Midtown map.
Map by Taylor Gabrysiak, Health and Hospital Corp. CLICK TO ENLARGE