501 W Main St, Northville, MI 48167-1576 | Mary K. Gallagher, Superintendent
This section has been adapted from materials developed by the Rouge RAP Advisory Council On-site Septic Subcommittee, which included representatives from Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw County Health Departments.
Septic systems are waste water treatment systems that use septic tanks and drainfields to dispose of sewage in soil. They are typically used in rural or large lot settings where a sanitary sewer is not available.
According to the Michigan State University Extension Service and local health departments, when a septic system is correctly located, adequately designed, carefully installed and properly managed, you will have a waste disposal system that is simple, economical, effective, safe and environmentally sensitive.
A septic system usually is made up of a septic tank and a drainfield. The septic tank is usually made of reinforced concrete, is buried and watertight. This tank receives untreated household waste. The drain field usually consists of a series of perforated pipes (pipes with holes in them), which distribute the liquid from the septic tank to the surrounding soil.
Although even the best designed and installed system eventually fail, proper maintenance will ensure a longer lasting waste disposal system.
A failure of a septic system can cause serious problems. Sewage can pond on the ground near the drainfield or back up into buildings. Animals and people may become ill from contact with these discharges. Pollution from failing septic systems of contaminate ditches, creeks and shallow drinking water supplies. In addition to public health concerns, there are costly repair bills to repair or replace the system. Normal use of the system is interrupted while the system is uncovered for repairs or replacement. »Next Section