FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2021
For more information contact Maria Reppas, 


(RICHMOND, VA) – Governor Northam and the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Office of Environmental Health Services are promoting SepticSmart Week again this year.  The Governor has issued a proclamation recognizing September 20th to the 26th as Septic Smart Week in the Commonwealth. SepticSmart Week is an annual event focused on educating homeowners and communities on the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems.

“VDH understands how septic systems can be out of sight out of mind for some Virginians.  However, proper use and maintenance of your system is vital to protecting the health of your family, your community, and the environment.  We encourage owners to follow the simple Septic Smart tips year round to protect their investment and their health,” said Lance Gregory, Director, Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services.

There are approximately 1.1 million households in Virginia served by onsite sewage (septic) systems to treat their wastewater. Septic systems provide a cost-effective, long-term option for treating wastewater, particularly in sparsely populated areas. When properly installed, operated, and maintained, these systems help protect public health, preserve valuable water resources, and maintain a community’s economic vitality. 

Here are some helpful tips on how to be SepticSmart:

  • Think at the Sink! What goes down the drain has a big impact on your septic system. Fats, grease, and solids can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
  • Don’t Overload the Commode! A toilet is not a trash can. Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, and cat litter can damage a septic system. 
  • Don’t Strain Your Drain! Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances. Too much water use at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
  • Shield Your Field! Tree and shrub roots, cars, and livestock can damage your septic drainfield.
  • Keep It Clean! Contamination can occur when a septic system leaks due to improper maintenance. Be sure your drinking water is safe to drink by testing it regularly.
  • Protect It and Inspect It! Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs and protect public health. 
  • Pump Your Tank! Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority. 

SepticSmart Week 2021 encourages homeowners, wastewater professionals, and state, tribal, and local officials to design and maintain effective systems to safeguard your family’s health, protect the environment, and save money. Be part of the solution by visiting VDH’s Water and Wastewater Services webpage and for more resources and information.