A free clinic on how to maintain home septic systems safely and properly will be held virtually from noon-1:30 p.m. on May 2.

Offered through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension ServiceTexas A&M AgriLife Research and the Lampasas River Watershed Partnership, the class will be held through the Microsoft Teams platform.

No software download is required to join. Persons can register by visiting https://tx.ag/LampasasRiverSepticClinic. A link with information and instructions on how to join will be emailed after registering.

Funding and support for the Lampasas Watershed Protection Plan is provided through Clean Water Act nonpoint source grants from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Home septic systems, also known as on-site sewage systems, or OSSFs, are used to treat wastewater before it is dispersed on the property and are typically found in rural areas or areas not able to connect to a municipal waste collection system, said Ryan Gerlich, AgriLife Extension on-site sewage facilities program specialist, Bryan-College Station.

“Systems that are not functioning properly can contaminate our waterways with bacteria and other pollutants, in addition to causing human health hazards,” Gerlich said.

Understanding septic systems

The clinic will provide a basic understanding of the operational and maintenance activities of an OSSF and explain how activities within the home impact septic systems. This clinic does not certify homeowners to do their own quarterly inspections required for aerobic systems.

“There will be presentations over health and safety considerations, how to care for and feed the system, and general maintenance procedures,” said Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension specialist and associate professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Temple. “The remainder of the clinic will offer participants the opportunity to ask questions in an informal and interactive manner.”

Lisa Prcin, AgriLife Research specialist and Lampasas River Watershed coordinator, Temple, said the clinic will also discuss implementation of the OSSF components of the Lampasas River Watershed Protection Plan.

“We have secured a second round of federal grant funds to assist homeowners in offsetting the costs of repairing or replacing 20 failing septic systems within the watershed as part of our implementation efforts,” Prcin said. “We were able to replace 20 failing systems with the first round of funding in 2021 and 2022.” 

Lampasas River protection plan

Failing septic systems were identified by the Lampasas River Watershed Partnership as a potential source of bacterial contamination in nearby streams and waterways. The septic system maintenance clinic is offered as an educational component of the Lampasas River Watershed Protection Plan.

The protection plan was developed and implemented by the Lampasas River Watershed Partnership, a collaborative effort by local stakeholders, AgriLife Research, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to address water quality concerns within the Lampasas River watershed. The Lampasas River watershed encompasses parts of Mills, Hamilton, Lampasas, Coryell, Burnet, Bell and Williamson counties.

For questions, contact Prcin at 254-774-6008 or [email protected]. For information about septic systems in Texas, go to https://ossf.tamu.edu/.

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