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Homeowners can significantly reduce the volume of wastewater discharged to home septic systems and sewage treatment plants by conserving water. If you have a septic system, by decreasing your water usage, you can help prevent your system from overloading and contaminating ground water and surface water. (Seventy-five percent of drain field failures are due to hydraulic overloading.)

  1. Use low-flow faucets, shower heads, reduced-flow toilet flushing equipment, and water saving appliances such as dish and clothes washers. (See table on water savings possible with conservation devices.)
  2. Repair leaking faucets, toilets, and pumps.
  3. Use dishwashers and clothes washers only when fully loaded.
  4. Take short showers instead of baths and avoid letting faucets run unnecessarily.
  5. Wash your car only when necessary; use a bucket to save water. Alternatively, go to a commercial carwash that uses water efficiently and disposes of runoff properly.
  6. Do not over-water your lawn or garden. Over-watering may increase leaching of fertilizers to ground water.
  7. When your lawn or garden needs watering, use slow-watering techniques such as trickle irrigation or soaker hoses. (Such devices reduce runoff and are 20-percent more effective than sprinklers.)

(From an EPA Journal article, EPA-22K-1005)