Products: Public Education

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Alternative Household Cleaning Solutions
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
This fact sheet provides less-toxic alternatives for several cleaning and home improvement jobs around the house.
(General Public, Public Health Officials, Contractors, Developers)
GNFSPE109/Fact Sheet: 4pp. (2005)

The Care and Feeding of Your Septic System
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
Second in a series of three brochures, this describes how to prolong the life of your septic system. The brochure includes schematic diagrams of septic systems and discusses what should and should not be put into the system. Tank sizes are carted according to household size. The brochure discusses absorption fields and recommended pumping frequency.
(General Public, Public Health Officials, Local and State Officials)
WWBRPE18/Brochure: 2pp. (1995)

Conventional On-Site Sewage Disposal System:  Your Septic System, What it is and how to take care of it
Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Maryland
This video is one in a series of three produced by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. The video discusses conventional septic system components, using computer enhancement to show how water goes through the system. Wastewater professionals (a sanitarian, an inspector, and a pumper/hauler) explain what they do and why it is important. The video begins with a discussion of ways in which people use water and create wastewater. Throughout the video, regular care, monitoring, and maintenance are emphasized, explaining how money spent on maintenance is generally much less than the cost of repairing or replacing a failed system. The video shows a system being installed as a new house is built. (Local Officials, General Public, Contractors/Developers, Managers, Public Health Officials, Planners, State Officials)
WWVTPE61/Video: 17 min. (1998)

Dollars Down the Drain: Caring for Your Septic Tank
Friends of the Crooked River, Akron, Ohio
This video highlights each component of a standard septic tank/soil absorption system and the routine maintenance required to ensure that the system functions properly. The video identifies family household procedures that can extend the life of the system, such as conserving water and restricting substances washed down the drain. Economic, health, and environmental benefits of proper septic system care are emphasized. The video also discusses problems that could arise when proper use and maintenance are neglected. (General Public, Local Officials, Public Health Officials)
WWVTPE42/Video: 22 min. (1997)

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Down the Drain: Septic System Sense
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
This video presents good maintenance practices by documenting one family's septic system failure. As the narrator discusses how a septic system works, animated graphics and diagrams illustrate the basic design and soil absorption and treatment processes. The video emphasizes the need for maintenance and management, including regular inspection and pumping of the septic tank. Important do's and don'ts are discussed, such as water conservation; avoiding garbage disposals, additives, and chemicals; locating the system; and proper landscaping. The video shows trouble signs to look for, such as slow drains, a bad smell, and backed-up sewage. Although the tape mentions Pennsylvania, any wastewater professional could use this short video as a tool to educate homeowners about sound management of their onsite septic systems. (Local Officials, General Public, Public Health Officials, Contractors/Developers)
WWVTPE67/Video: 12 min. (2001)

Drinking Water Protection Series: Nitrate Contamination—What is the cost?
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Groundwater is a highly prized natural resource that quenches the thirst of over 70% of Minnesota’s 5 million residents. But these shallow aquifers are vulnerable to impacts from land use activities, especially nitrogen contamination. This fact sheet, produced by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, describes some corrective actions used by communities to mitigate nitrate contamination and their associated costs.
(All Audiences)
WWFSPE347/Fact Sheet: 2pp. (N/A)

Everyone Shares a Watershed
Water Environment Federation
This brochure details watershed management and why it's the best approach to protecting our water supplies. Questions answered in this brochure include who is affected, how to get started, and how individuals can participate in a watershed management program. (General Public, Public Health Officials, Local Officials, Managers, Planners)
GNBRPE02/Brochure: 2 pp. (1994)

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Septic Systems. . .
But Didn't Know Who To Ask! HomeOwner Version 1.0

Environmental Health, Volusia County Health Department
This interactive CD ROM educates homeowners about conventional onsite systems.  The CD is divided into six main sections, including:

The septic tank and drainfield are further detailed through an extensive video/slide show that covers such topics as septic tank requirements, use of dosing tanks, types of tanks to use, aerobic treatment units, drainfield location, what aggregate and lateral pipe to use, and alternative soil absorption systems.  Although some sections are based upon Florida regulations, this CD can be edited to reflect regulations and requirements specific to any state or local jurisdiction. (General Public, Public Health Officials, State Officials, State Regulatory Agencies)
WWCDPE76/CD-ROM (2002)

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Getting in Step: Engaging and Involving Stakeholders in Your Watershed
US Environmental Protection Agency
Effective stakeholder involvement provides a method for identifying public concerns and values, developing consensus among affected parties, and producing effective and efficient solutions through an open, inclusive process. This guide provides the tools needed to effectively engage stakeholders to restore and maintain healthy environmental conditions through community support and cooperative action.  Tips for working effectively with stakeholders in protecting water quality are also included, as well as resource information, case studies, Web sites, and other how-to guides related to watershed protection. (Local Officials, General Public, Government Officials, Managers, Outreach, Planners, Regulatory Agencies, Researchers, State Officials, State Regulatory Agencies, Technical Assistance Providers)
WWBKPE106/Book: 79 pp. (1999)

Ground Water A Source of Wonder: Drinking Water From Wells
American Ground Water Trust
More than half of all drinking water in the U.S. comes from groundwater wells. This illustrated booklet explains the hydrologic cycle and describes and defines groundwater and its associated terms. Plus, simple water well construction diagrams show how wells are built and operated. (Public Health Officials, Health officials, General Public, Local Officials, Outreach, Contractors/Developers)
DWBLPE151/Booklet: 14 pp. (2003)

Groundwater Protection and Your Septic System
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
Third in a series of three brochures, this focuses on groundwater and drinking water sources in relation to septic systems. Along with ways to prevent contaminants from reaching the groundwater, this brochure discusses groundwater protection based upon proper septic system sizing and location. Various schematic diagrams are provided.
(General Public, Public Health Officials, Local and State Officials)
WWBRPE21/Brochure: 2pp. (1995)

Homeowner Onsite Record Keeping Folder
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
This folder provides a place to record and store information about your septic system and its maintenance. On the cover are sections for permit and local health department information. Inside are tips for locating your system, a safety checklist, and a section for recording the names, addresses, and certification numbers of your systems designer, installer, and pumper.
(Local and State Officials, Public Health Officials, General Public)
WWBLPE37/Folder: 4pp. (2008)

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Homeowner's Septic Tank Information Package
National Small Flows Clearinghouse This package includes:

(General Public, Contractors, Developers, Local and State Officials)
WWPKPE28/Package: 54 pp. (2008)

How to Conduct an Inventory in Your Wellhead Protection Area
University of Idaho
This training manual is designed to help community volunteers conduct wellhead protection inventories in their local watershed. The manual takes a user step-by-step through the process for training volunteers. (General Public, Local Officials, Operators)
DWBKPE95/Book: 117 pp. (1993)

Inspections Equal Preventative Care for Onsite Systems
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
The Spring1998 Pipeline focuses on the advantages of having regular onsite wastewater system inspections. It explains what occurs during an inspection, when and how often systems should be inspected, and how to locate a qualified inspector. The newsletter lists questions homeowners may be asked about their systems and discusses the homeowner’s role in the process. A Delaware inspector shares his experiences and offers advice to homeowners.
(General Public, Contractors, Developers, Local and State Officials)
SFPLNL13/Newsletter: 8pp. (1998)

Keeping Our Shores/Protecting Minnesota Waters: Shoreland Best Management Practices
Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota
This video demonstrates practices that can be easily adopted to protect both water quality and property values in shore land areas. It highlights filter strips, septic system maintenance, best management practices for recreation, and the importance of working together as a community to solve problems and protect the surrounding environment. A packet of 18 fact sheets accompanies this video. Topics include reducing runoff and erosion and caring for lawns and gardens, to name a few. The fact sheets come in a folder with a section for recording information about your septic system and drinking water well. (Contractors/Developers, General Public, Local Officials, Planners, State Officials)
WWVTPE34/Package: 69 pp. (1996)

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Living on Karst: A Reference Guide for Landowners in Limestone Regions
Cave Conservancy of the Virginias
This booklet explains the link between karst topography and drinking water sources and supplies. It educates landowners about the significance of living in a karst environment and how day-to-day activities affect the groundwater and fragile ecosystems in karst regions. The booklet discusses septic systems in karst areas, problems with stormwater and runoff, pollution and well protection, and household wastes and water conservation. (Local Officials, General Public, Engineers, Contractors/Developers, Managers, Planners, State Officials, Public Health Officials, Researchers)
WWBLPE46/Booklet: 27 pp. (1997)

Maintaining Your Septic System: A Guide for Homeowners
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
This updated reprint of the Fall 1995 Pipeline focuses on educating homeowners about proper septic system operation and maintenance. Topics include groundwater pollution, system inspections, and the use of additives and cleaners. The newsletter includes a handy list of important septic system do’s and don’ts.
(General Public, Contractors, Developers, Local and State Officials)
SFPLNL39/Newsletter: 8p (2004)

The Multiple Barrier Approach to Public Health Protection
US Environmental Protection Agency
This publication from USEPA looks at the multiple barrier approach to public health protection. The 1996 safe Drinking water act Amendments created a coordinated set of programs and requirements to help water systems make sure the public has a safe supply of drinking water. These programs and requirements form the multiple barriers in protecting the public health. (All)
DWFSPE342/Fact Sheet: 4 pp. (2006)

Preventing On-lot Sewage System Malfunctions
Penn State University, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering
For most people living in rural areas, sewage collection, treatment, and disposal must be accomplished onsite. Properly designed and installed onsite sewage systems provide adequate treatment and disposal of liquid household wastes.  Still, some onsite systems malfunction for the following four reasons: faulty installation, hydraulic overloading, biological overloading, or lack of maintenance. This fact sheet discusses these malfunctions and suggests potential remedies for each.  The fact sheet also includes diagrams of a typical onsite sewage system and a cross-section of a typical two-chamber septic tank.  Although intended for Pennsylvania residents, public health officials across the country can use the information in this fact sheet as part of a homeowner education program. (State Regulatory Agencies, Local Officials, General Public, State Officials, Public Health Officials, Contractors/Developers)
WWFSPE70/Fact Sheet: 4 pp. (2002)

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Protecting Your Water Quality Through a Farm & Home Assessment
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
About 95 percent of the families who live in the country get their drinking water from groundwater or a rainwater collection system. If the water supply equipment or storage facilities are not properly constructed or maintained they can allow your drinking water to become contaminated. This booklet presents an eight-step questionnaire designed to make you aware of conditions on your property that increase the risk of contamination to your drinking water. This booklet was produced by a partnership of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, the USDA Cooperative Sate Research, Education and Extension Service and the USEPA.
(All Audiences)
DWBKPE351/Book: 76pp. (N/A)

PSMA Protocol: Inspecting On-lot Wastewater Treatment Systems
Pennsylvania Septage Management Association
In this video, a Pennsylvania Septage Management Association certified inspector explains what an inspection entails, taking the viewer through a Pennsylvania Level 1 inspection of a septic system. This includes system components, equipment used to perform the inspection, signs of a working system, and direct and indirect indications of deterioration or failure. Depending upon the results, the inspection report may include corrective measures and a cost estimate for system repair or replacement. The video also discusses sand mounds as alternatives to conventional septic systems. (Engineers, Local Officials, General Public, Contractors/Developers, Public Health Officials, State Regulatory Agencies)
WWVTPE49/Video: 24 pp. (1996)

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Safe Drinking Water Act: Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program-Protecting Public Health and Drinking Water Resources
US Environmental Protection Agency
Your community may have industrial waste disposal wells, storm water drainage wells, or large-capacity septic systems, which are all regulated disposal methods. This full-color poster illustrates the fives classes of underground disposal wells for different wastes and notes other types of subsurface disposal that are banned. (Regulatory Agencies, State Regulatory Agencies, Technical Community, Planners, Manufacturers, Health officials, Local Officials)
DWPSPE132/Poster: 1 pp. (2001)

Septic Systems—A Practical Alternative for Small Communities
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
This issue is an update of the Spring 1995 issue of Pipeline and presents basic information on septic tank systems, how they work, and where homeowners and community leaders can find further information and assistance. Discussions on landscaping of septic systems, siphons, and alternating and interlacing drainfields are included, as well as advantages and disadvantages of septic systems. Drawings of a typical residential septic system, pump system, and siphon are given.
(General Public, Contractors, Developers, Local and State Officials)
SFPLNL38/Newsletter: 8pp. (2005)

Septic Systems Revealed: Guide to Operation, Care, and Maintenance
Minnesota Extension, University of Minnesota
Septic systems need periodic maintenance and attention.  A well maintained septic system is a hidden investment.  This video explains each component of a septic system, what purpose each serves (functions).  Two basic types of soil absorption systems are detailed (mounds and conventional rock-filled trenches). Hydraulic overloading of a septic system is identified as the number  one reason for system failure followed by inadequate or lack of proper care, and improper installation (construction). Threat of disease, contamination, and added cost are characteristic of a failing system.  Water conservation, or efficient water use, is focused on in this video as a means of ensuring hydraulic overloading of a system (and possible failure) will not occur. Helpful household tips are detailed on how to use less water and therefore lessening the hydraulic stress on a septic system.  Effects of household cleaners and other items typically found around the house on a septic system are discussed. A typical septic tank cleaning period is given as once every 18-30 months; however, this is very dependent upon the amount of water used, the number of residents, and household practices. A demonstration of proper septic tank pumping methods is highlighted.  Additives are discouraged from use and should not be used or thought of as a substitute for proper maintenance. (Contractors/Developers, General Public, Local Officials, Public Health Officials)
WWVTPE43/Video: 23 min. (1996)

Soil Facts: Why Do Septic Systems Fail?
North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension
This fact sheet lists signs of septic system failure and gives the homeowner useful information for preventing failures and for repairing systems. Although the fact sheet is based on North Carolina code, most of the information can be adapted to other states. (Public Health Officials, General Public, Contractors/Developers)
Fact Sheet: 4 pp. (N/A)

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So. . . Now You Own a Septic System
National Small Flows Clearinghouse
First in a series of three brochures, this introduces the conventional septic tank soil absorption system. The brochure describes how a septic system works and how to keep it functioning properly. Schematic diagrams are provided.
(General Public, Contractors, Developers, Local and State Officials)
WWBRPE20/Brochure: 2pp. (1995)

Well Water: Keeping It Clean
Clemson University, Cooperative Extension Service
Keeping your well water free of harmful contaminants is a top priority for your health and for the environment. This booklet, produced as part of South Carolina’s Home-A-Syst program, helps homeowners understand good well management and how activities on or near the well can affect water quality.
(All Audiences)
DWBLPE350/Booklet: 21pp. (2001)

Wellhead Protection: Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Over 95 percent of the liquid fresh water on earth is not found within surface lakes and streams, but beneath the land surface as groundwater. We know that groundwater can become polluted just like surface water. This fact sheet produced by the experts at the Alabama Cooperative Extension presents basic groundwater facts and information about the Wellhead Protection Program in that state.
(All Audiences)
DWFSPE348/Factsheet: 2pp. (1998)

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