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EPA Voluntary Guidelines Aid City and Country Septic System Management
Release Date: 04/14/2003
CONTACT: John Millett, 202-564-7842 / email@example.com
(04/14/03) EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, G. Tracy Mehan, III today announced the release of new guidelines that are designed to help local governments strengthen their management of septic systems and other small, privately-owned wastewater treatment systems.
“Proper septic system maintenance is a commonly overlooked responsibility,” said Mehan. “Failing systems are a significant threat to our health and our water quality.”
Failing and improperly managed septic systems are a significant source of water pollution, potentially causing contamination of drinking water wells or restricting shellfish harvest. Septic systems serve approximately 25 percent of U.S. households, and one in every three new homes built today use these systems – making proper maintenance essential for protecting America’s waters.
The Voluntary Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems complements EPA’s efforts to help state and local governments strengthen their oversight of septic systems and other small, privately-owned wastewater treatment systems. EPA worked with stakeholders from the public and private sectors to develop these voluntary management guidelines. The guidelines and an accompanying Management Handbook, which is now available for public comment, provide local governments with a risk-based model for evaluating local conditions and then a five-tier system developing an appropriate management program to address local conditions.
EPA has been working to help local governments build better septic system management programs. EPA recently released a CD-based outreach kit to assist communities in their efforts to educate citizens about proper septic system management.
The Voluntary Guidelines document (EPA 832-B-03-001) is available for download at www.epa.gov/owm/onsite. Copies are also available by calling 800-490-9198. The public is also invited to review and comment on the companion Handbook for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) Wastewater Treatment Systems. The public comment period closes on May 27, 2003. For more information, please contact Joyce Hudson at 202-564-0657 or Steve Hogye 202-564-0631.