Oxford County launches new SepticSmart! initiative to inform residents about their septic systems

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Last month, the county launched a new initiative aimed at educating people about their septic systems.

The program is called SepticSmart!, and it was introduced at the last county council meeting on March 22.

The program is a county-wide education effort to help homeowners understand how their septic systems work and will offer free workshops and ‘house calls’ that will have qualified sewage inspectors help homeowners identify their property’s septic system.

Manager of health protection Peter Heywood said that there are over 9,000 residential septic systems in Oxford County and some of these systems are reaching their life expectancy.

“We thought it would be important for qualified sewage inspectors from Oxford County public health to share their knowledge and expertise with homeowners around the operation and maintenance of their system,” Heywood said.

“There certainly are some homeowners who don’t know the do’s and don’ts around the operation of their septic system,” he added. “For example, a septic tank should be pumped out every three to five years. So this is just an opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with them, through various mechanisms including workshops.”

Heywood said that the county plans to hold these workshops through the spring and fall around Oxford, providing a hands-on opportunity for homeowners to talk directly to sewage inspectors.

“We’ll have a SepticSmart! information package available to homeowners upon request,” Heywood said. “If homeowners so desire, there will also be an opportunity to contact a sewage inspector directly and request for an onsite consultation. During that house call the sewage inspector can review the components of their septic system, identify any evidence of sewage breakout and of course provide them with information around the operation and maintenance of their system.”

The program had a soft launch last year in Princeton, but Heywood said that SepticSmart! is now officially launched county-wide, which means people can now contact public health to set up home visits or get a copy of the information package.

“This is really to protect the wellbeing of the community,” Heywood said. “We want to make sure that septic systems are functioning well, so it’s not impacting ground water in a negative way. We also just want to protect the environment.”

bchessell@postmedia.com

 

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