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NH celebrates EPA’s SepticSmart Week, September 20–24

Date: September 02, 2021

NHDES is participating in EPA’s SepticSmart Week, September 20-24. The week is designed to encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. The EPA has a website dedicated to SepticSmart Week. 

About six out of every 10 households in New Hampshire depend on septic systems or other types of onsite systems to treat their wastewater. These systems are critical in protecting the state’s water resources. These water resources are enjoyed by everyone whether you are swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee, kayaking on the Piscataqua River, fishing on the Merrimack or Connecticut Rivers or taking a drink of water out of your own kitchen faucet.

Failure to maintain a septic system can lead to backups and overflows, which can result in costly repairs and can cause health and water quality problems. An improperly maintained system can even be a significant source of groundwater contamination and cause issues with your drinking water well.

During SepticSmart Week, NHDES will be distributing education and outreach resources to help educate residents about their septic systems. The EPA provides homeowners with easy to remember maintenance tips, including:

  • Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every three years by a licensed contractor. Tanks should be pumped when necessary, typically every three to five years. Don’t forget to check out for more education and a rebate form for your next tank service.
  • Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain. These substances can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
  • Don’t Overload the Commode: Only put things in the drain or toilet that belong there. For example, coffee grounds, paint, dental floss, disposable diapers, and wipes, hygiene products, cigarette butts and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems. 
  • Don’t Strain Your Drain: Be water efficient and spread out water use. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products. Spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day — too much water at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
  • Shield Your Field: Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drainfield, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

For more SepticSmart information including a homeowner’s guide go to If you work for a municipality and would like outreach material on septic smart practices, please reach out to Wade Pelham with NHDES at