A substantial percentage of homeowners in the Yellow
Creek Watershed must treat wastewater on their lots. There are more
than one million household sewage treatment systems (“HSTS”) in Ohio today,
and more than 25 percent of new homes built in Ohio will use a HSTS.
Given an estimated failure rate of 25 percent and periodic discharges from
inoperable systems, up to 900,000 gallons of sewage are discharged daily
throughout Ohio. Serious human illnesses, including gastroenteritis,
cholera, dysentery, infectious hepatitis and encephalitis, are associated
with raw sewage.
Improper siting and management of household systems
have far reaching community impacts. The Ohio Department of Health
lists the following examples:
·Leach lines contaminated water wells in a Butler county
·Failing systems polluting Rocky Fork Lake in Highland County
and Buckeye Lake in Fairfield and 2 other counties
·Contamination of ground water from failing systems caused a
gastrointestinal outbreak affecting 1,400 visitors and residents of South
Failing systems can affect property value and
saleability of homes as well.
Individual homeowners are responsible for the
maintenance and operation of septic systems, and proper operation and
maintenance can have a significant impact on how well the system works and
how long it lasts. Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or
replace, and can present a serious health hazard.
The Environmental Division of the Summit County Health
Department estimates the cost to replace a failing system to be from $3,000
to $10,000, whereas the cost to inspect and pump the system is $100 to $200.
These cost estimates for replacing a system may well be understated. According to US Inspect, a private home inspection company, the cost to
replace a leachfield is from $6000 to $20,000, and the cost to replace a
septic tank is from $1500 to $2000. The familiar old adage is right --
“It is better to be safe than sorry!”