According to the EPA, about 25 million Septic Systems are in use today in the United States along with 60 million users. When maintained, these systems work well and could last 35 years or longer. Around Hess Lake there are a number of different types of septic systems. The majority are gravity type systems along with some mounded up systems and a few special engineered systems. The cost of a new system varies greatly depending on the type of system.
For all questions regarding your septic system or well, contact the Newaygo County District 10 Health Department. They can answer all your questions and walk you through the process of updating your septic or well system. Please see attached new septic/well system application below. If you are new to your property and do not know the location of your current septic system or water well, they will lookup the file on your property for you. The county keeps a detailed septic system and water well file on each property along with any water quality testing that has been done.
The best things you can do to increase the life of your septic system.
1. For a new system, provide the Newaygo County Sanitarian a very detailed list on how you plan on using your septic systems, details matter.
2. Make sure the septic tank and drain field for a new system are not under sized.
3. Consider having a filter added to your new or existing system to help protect the drain field. The filter is installed on the outlet pipe of the septic tank to the drain field. In addition, consider adding a distribution box to equally distribute the water to the drain field, new systems only. Discuss this with your septic provider.
4. Use only a qualified installer that is approved by Newaygo County.
5. Pump your system on a regular basis, depends on usage, maybe every 2 - 3 years, discuss this with your septic provider. This will extend the life of your system.
6. Do not drive on your drain field.
7. Keep trees away from your drain field, roots in the drain field are a leading cause of failure.
8. Consider pumping your system before or after a large holiday party.
9. Clean the septic filter yearly if you have one.
10. Updating your toilet, faucets, shower heads, washer and dishwasher with high efficiency products will reduce your water usage.
11. See attached Septic PDF list for other recommendations.
Maintaining your system does not mean waiting until you have a backup in your home or water on the surface above the drain field. At that point it is likely you have damaged your drain field and shortened the life of your system. Systems that last the longest are the ones that are well maintained. According to the Newaygo County data report on septic system failures, 34% were attributed to lack of maintenance.
Note: The septic systems on our two cottages each lasted 55 and 58 years. However, they are not the norm since they were used mostly on a seasonal basis. Except one cottage was used year around for the first 20 years.
Newaygo County’s goal is to have your septic system last at least 30 - 35 years with pumping every 2 - 3 years.
Newaygo County District 10 Health Department
PO Box 850
White Cloud, MI, 49349
This isn’t a complete list of septic systems and some may not be used in Newaygo County.