Septic Systems

Septic and sewage disposal fact sheets as well as information on wet basements

Understanding and correcting wet basements is a key topic for homeowners.

Proper design and operation of an on-lot sewage system hinges on the ability of the soil to absorb and renovate the wastewater flowing from the treatment tank.

Education and guidance for homeowners with on-lot wastewater disposal systems about how to keep their systems healthy.

A PSMA/NOF On-Lot Wastewater System Inspection provides homeowners, sellers, or prospective buyers with information about on-lot system components and current operating conditions. The inspection Standards and procedures were developed by the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA) and the National Onsite Wastewater Education and Research Foundation (NOF).

Realtors are involved in most real estate transfers. They either represent the buyer or the seller, or both. When the property in question contains an on-lot wastewater disposal system the buyer should demand that the on-lot disposal system be inspected as part of the “home inspection” process. Realtors need to understand who should conduct these inspections and what outcomes to expect.

The local Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) focuses on system malfunctions. The PSMA certified septic tank inspector focuses on the overall well being and health of your system. On the surface these two purposes may sound similar, but they are not.

Septic tanks receive the raw wastewater from the home and are designed to facilitate the removal of particles heavier than water by encouraging these heavy particles to settle to the tank floor. This is why septic tanks fill up with solids, but how often should septic tanks be pumped to keep them operating properly?

The components and function of on-lot wastewater systems and the regulatory system governing their use is described.

Information on a variety of on-site wastewater treatment systems

Adding a filter to the exit baffle of a septic tank serves as the final opportunity to capture and remove partially settled particles in the wastewater. This filter can greatly improve the quality of wastewater discharged from the septic tank to the next unit downstream.

On-lot sewage disposal systems can fail. In many cases, failure is visible, however, there are circumstances where additional testing is needed to detect or confirm malfunctions. Commercially available dyes and tracers can be used for this purpose.

The Hydraulic Load Test is included as a component of the PSMA On-Lot Wastewater Inspection and is often employed to protect both the home buyer and home seller during real estate transactions.

This article informs homeowners how to obtain low-interest loan financing for the improvement, repair or replacement of their existing on-lot sewage disposal systems.

Penn State Extension hosts a monthly webinar series on topics related to water issues for homeowners, gardeners, water professionals, youth educators, and more.

Results of a Penn State study on the condition of septic systems across Pennsylvania, funded by a grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Major repairs or replacement of septic system components and drinking water wells can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but there are sources of financial assistance for homeowners.