Septic Smart for Lake Erie
The Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance (LEWPA) is pleased to announce a grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute to provide educational resources to residents of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie counties on the proper maintenance of septic systems to protect our local waterways by keeping septic systems in good working order.
Do Your Part to Be Septic Smart for Lake Erie!
Check out the Workshops tab for recently scheduled in-person workshops or watch a recording of the virtual workshop.
Water Quality in the Niagara River/Lake Erie Watershed
The area of land in New York State that drains to the Niagara River and Lake Erie has faced many water quality issues. A recent study by LEWPA demonstrates that bacteria wash into our waterways each time it rains. This can be from animal waste from wildlife or agricultural animals or it can be from human waste entering stormwater or groundwater from illegal pipe connections, wastewater treatment plant overflows, or failing septic systems. The U.S. Geological Survey also sampled locally for nutrients and found areas with elevated nitrogen and phosphorus readings.
Failing septic systems can leach harmful bacteria or viruses and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into nearby water bodies. A well functioning system will allow these harmful components to be filtered and absorbed by the surrounding ground, but an overflowing tank or a clogged drain field can cause untreated waste to runoff to stormwater ditches that lead directly to local waterways. High bacteria counts or harmful algal blooms are the cause of many beach closures along Lake Erie.
Good news! You can learn how your septic system works and how to maintain it properly to keep it working for years to come. It's your responsibility to keep your septic system working properly to protect our environment, to protect the health of your family and neighbors, and to avoid a very costly repair or replacement of your system. We invite you to explore the tabs above to learn more.
Funding for this project provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Any opinions, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State.