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Why do septic systems malfunction?

A properly functioning septic system removes pollutants from wastewater, and with proper usage and maintenance, the system should work for decades, protecting public health and the environment. However, when a septic system malfunctions or fails, contamination can occur.


Obvious signs that a septic system may not be operating properly include soft, smelly spots in the yard and sewage backing up into the home. Other failures are not always apparent, however, and can result in untreated wastewater contaminating streams, ditches, or groundwater. In these cases, the property owner may not even be aware their system is creating a public health concern.

Click on the photo for the complete Ohio Onsite Wastewater Association Fact Sheet.

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