Division of Water and Wastewater Services Helps Keep Virginia’s Water Safe

The Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Water and Wastewater Services helps make sure private wells are safe and that people don’t get sick from touching sewage. The division works with Environmental Health staff across VDHs 35 health districts. They put programs in place for marinas, private wells and onsite sewage programs to protect public health.

The employees of Water and Wastewater Services help enforce rules for marinas, private wells and onsite sewage systems. They work with contractors, engineers, environmental groups, manufacturers, real estate agents, homeowners, lawmakers, and others to keep people and the environment healthy.

Safe drinking water is critical to good health.  You can make sure your private well water is safe by looking over your well head and the area around it. Test the water for bacteria every year. Every few years, do tests that are on the EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

Safe septic systems are also critical to good health. More than a million homes in Virginia use septic systems and almost as many use private wells. When a septic system fails, wastewater can have a negative impact on  nearby waterways.

There are also ways to keep up your septic system:  

  • Avoid pouring fats, grease, solids and harsh chemicals down the drain.
  • Use water in the best way possible by not using several appliances that use water at the same time.
  • Reroute rain and surface water away from your drainfield. Avoid parking cars and planting trees on your drainfield.
  • Pump out your septic tank on a regular basis. A professional can help you decide how often to pump. 
  • A typical septic system should be checked every one to three years by a septic system professional.
  • If you use a well, test your drinking water on a regular basis to make sure it is safe.

Keeping your system in good shape, can keep you healthy and save you thousands of dollars in repairs.