Septic systems must be adequately maintained and septic tanks pumped out regularly to ensure their effectiveness in removing pollutants from wastewater. Communities may adopt inspection programs or ordinances to require such proper maintenance in order to protect ground- and surface-water resources.
Inspection and maintenance programs are an effective way of protecting water quality and the public health, especially if private wells are in proximity to septic fields. Inspection requirements at time of sale can also protect future homebuyers against these risks.
If some people are simply ignorant of health and environmental risks or too poor to afford to periodically pump out or repair their own failing septic systems, then an inspection and maintenance ordinance will have little impact on changing their behavior.
Example 1: Kent County, Michigan
Description: Ordinance for the inspection and maintenance of septic tanks in a county with a mix of rural and urban areas.
Example 2: City of Dayton, MN
Description: A suburb at the edge of the Twin Cities region with a septic tank ordinance.
Example 3: Indiana
Description: A county with a mix of rural and urban areas including South Bend has an ordinance regulating septic systems inspection and maintenance.