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Lake County Stormwater Management Commission  

Septic System

Proper use and maintenance of your septic system is necessary to prevent it from malfunctioning and leaking pollutants into local waterways.  Some recommended proactive measures include:

  • Pumping or inspecting the system once every three years;
  • Diverting surface water away from the drain field;
  • Avoiding driving or parking on the drain field to prevent soil compaction;
  • Keeping the roots of trees and shrubs away from the drain field pipes to avoid obstructed drain lines; and
  • Consider aerobic digesters when it is time to replace the system.

7 Common Indicators of a Failing/Malfunctioning Septic System

  1. Sewage backing up in the basement or drains;
  2. Ponded water or wet areas over the drain field; 
  3. Bright green grass over the drain field; 
  4. A dense stand of aquatic plants along your shoreline (lakeside residents); 
  5. Sewage odors; Bacteria or nitrate in nearby well water; and
  6. Biodegradable dye flushed through your system is detectable in the lake (lakeside residents).

See also:


Markham, L. and K. Demorest “Protecting Your Waterfront Investment: 10 Simple Shoreland Stewardship Practices,” Center for Land Use Education, UW-Extension,


Septic diagram: St. Clair County, MI, Septic System Maintenance Guide, 

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Waukegan, IL 60085
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