MAINTENANCE (Courtesy of WA State Dept of Health)


OSS Homeowner Education

How to Care for Your On-site Septic System

Did you know that 25% of all U.S. homes have septic systems? Yours may be one of them. If you're not properly maintaining your septic system, you're not only hurting the environment, you're putting your family's health at risk - and may be flushing thousands of dollars down the drain!

To learn about how Washington State's on-site sewage system (septic system) (OSS) program keeps people from getting sick and protects the environment, visit our On-Site Sewage System page.

The Basics

Septics 101

This educational video explains how on-site sewage systems (OSS) function and illustrates the steps you should take to keep your system working well. You can watch all 5 chapters in one video, or you can view one chapter at a time.

Septics 101 – Full Course (5 chapters, 19:02 minutes)

Chapter 1 – Introduction & Sewage Overview (2:31 minutes)

Chapter 2 – System Basics & Soil (2:29 minutes)

Chapter 3 – Types of Septic Systems (6:57 minutes)

Chapter 4 – System Care & Maintenance (3:59 minutes)

Chapter 5 – Inspections & Video Credits (3:03 mins)

Learn the Ins and Outs of Septic Systems


EPA SepticSmart - Guidance for Septic Maintenance

National Environmental Services Center - Septic Systems

Septics 201

Learn about inspecting your small on-site septic system. The Septics 201 video provides instructions for homeowners to inspect their own septic systems. Please contact your local health department for any certification requirements prior to inspecting your system.

Do-It-Yourself Septic System Inspection (Videos)


Septic Tank Additives (Questions and Answers) (PDF) - from The Small Flows Quarterly, Winter 2002, reprinted with permission from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, West Virginia University

Don't Let Your Dollar$ Go Down the Drain! (PDF) - Published by the Small Acreage Program, part of the Clark County Conservation District.

How to Hire a Professional to Inspect Your System

A Homeowners Guide to Evaluating Service Contracts (PDF) - August 2006. Developed and published by The Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment

Check your county’s web site to make sure the service provider is certified to inspect OSS in your county - Local Health Departments and Districts links.

How to Care for Your System in an Emergency

Cleaning Up a Sewage Spill

Septic Systems - What to Do After the Flood - EPA

Septic Systems in Flooded and Wet Soil Conditions (PDF) - February 2005. Developed and published by Purdue Extension

For questions, please contact the Wastewater Management Section at wastewatermgmt@doh.wa.gov, or call 360-236-3330.