Water: Septic (Onsite / Decentralized) Systems
Education and Outreach
Across the country, homeowners, local environmental groups, health departments, and governments face the challenges posed by improperly maintained and failing septic systems. Below are are a number of activities and tools available to help raise public awareness and engage interested or affected individuals in the proper management of septic (onsite) wastewater systems.
SepticSmart is a national program to promote proper septic system care and maintenance by homeowners. SepticSmart aims to educate homeowners and provides industry practitioners, local governments and community organizations with tools and materials to educate their clients and residents.
Planning for Septic Systems - Use of Online Decentralized Systems in Developing Areas (PDF) (2 pp, 543K, About PDF) - Developed by the National Association of Counties , this four-page fact sheet provides information for homeowners and community officials on the realities of septic tank systems, the benefits of having an onsite wastewater management plan in place, the steps in developing a plan, and resources for more information. Published: 2003.
Understanding the Decentralized Management Guidelines (PDF) (18 pp, 1.0MB, About PDF) - This presentation can be used to describe EPA's Guidelines for communities to help them start management programs for septic systems. Published: 2004
Decentralized Background and Technology (PDF) (29 pp, 713K, About PDF) - This presentation talks about the pros and cons of centralized sewers and septic systems. It also discusses different septic system technologies. Published: 2004
Other Useful Education and Outreach Links:
EPA's Public Involvement Home Page - Offers a full range of activities that EPA uses to engage the American people in the agency's decision- making process.
EPA's Nutrient Pollution Outreach and Education Materials Page – Offers various tools and publications to assist in developing effective communications materials related to nutrient pollution.
EPA's Nonpoint Source Program's Getting in Step Outreach Series – Intended for use by state and local agencies, the Getting in Step Outreach Series is a great place to get started and learn how to develop effective outreach. The series includes:
- Getting in Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns (PDF) (178 pp, 5.3MB, About PDF), which presents the outreach development process as a logical, easy-to-apply sequence of steps. Information is also provided on related resources, including a free video companion guide and training workshop opportunities, and
- Getting in Step: Engaging and Involving Stakeholders in Your Watershed (PDF) (80 pp, 1.3MB, About PDF), a comprehensive stakeholder guide that presents tools to effectively engage stakeholders to restore and maintain healthy environmental conditions through community support and cooperative action.
The Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN) - This is a "first-stop shop" providing environmental management, planning, funding, and regulatory information for local government elected and appointed officials, managers and staff.