Protecting Water Quality

Household sewage: If there is no community sewage system, base the type and size of a household wastewater treatment system on a thorough assessment of soil type and maximum occupancy of your home, in accordance with regulations of the state health department. The local public health official will make the determination of the type to be used for your household. A septic tank and field line is appropriate in well-drained soils. In many heavier, clay soils common in the region, a mechanical treatment plant may be required.

If permitted by your local public health official, a rock reed filter (plant bed filtration systems) and other alternative systems may be used to minimize effluent (discharged waste water) from the treatment plant. These systems can fit into your landscaping. Establish a routine maintenance and inspection program for these systems.

Water backflow prevention: Install check valves or anti-siphon valves on all outside faucets and on interior sinks with attached hoses. This prevents the backflow of household water from reentering the community water lines if a drop in water pressure occurs.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is the use of physical and maintenance controls to minimize the need for chemical controls (pesticides) - such as selection of native and pest-resistant plants. More information on IPM and landscape pest control is available from your local Extension office or online at

Storm water management/runoff reduction: The use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) is important to protect water from contaminants carried by surface runoff from your site and to prevent loss of valuable topsoil. EPA regulations require contractors to have a stormwater management plan and take measures during construction to reduce run-off, such as temporary silt fencing and filter material in drainage..

Plan a variety of ways to reduce runoff by retaining water on site (landscaped retention areas and rainwater harvesting) and filtering out runoff contaminants with vegetation, non-floating mulches, porous paving and sediment traps. More information on site BMPs is available from your local Extension office or online at (select Environment and Natural Resources link).

6/19/2008 2:39:09 AM
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