Local Environmental Protection Program

Septic Smart Week: September 2, 2015

From September 21-25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will launch their third annual SepticSmart Week promoting education on septic systems and encourage homeowner’s to take action for proper care and maintenance. One-quarter of U.S. homes rely on septic systems for wastewater treatment. If not kept in proper functioning order, failing septic systems can cause public health issues as well as impair valuable water resources. During SepticSmart Week, proper septic system care and maintenance will be promoted by educating homeowners on septic system needs and system use. Properly maintained septic can spare homeowners of costly repairs and replacements, protect property values, and protect health and the environment. Homeowners will be encouraged to follow SepticSmart tips such as:

• Protect It and Inspect It: In general, homeowners should have their system inspected every three years by a licensed contractor and have their tank pumped when necessary, generally every three to five years.

• Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease, and solids down the drain, which can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.

• Don’t Overload the Commode: Ask guests to only to put things in the drain or toilet that belong there. For example, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems.

• Don’t Strain Your Drain: Be water efficient and spread out water use. Consider fixing plumbing leaks and installing faucet aerators and water-efficient products, and spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day. Too much water at once can overload a system if the septic tank has not been pumped recently.

• Shield Your Field: Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drainfield, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow. If you have a septic system or know someone who does, share the SepticSmart tips and help keep our communities and environment healthy.

More information on SepticSmart Week and the EPA SepticSmart program can be found at www.epa.gov/septicsmart or contact the Watershed Management Section at 785.296.5509.  

EPA SepticSmart program

The Local Environmental Protection Program, established in 1990, provided funding to enable local authorities to develop water protection plans that complemented other water quality efforts being waged by state and federal agencies. At the core of each plan was the adoption and enforcement of county environmental codes with an emphasis on onsite wastewater systems (OWWS) and private water wells (PWW). These plans were also designed to indentify broader responsibilities including the management of: county-wide water and wastewater, subdivision water and wastewater, NPS pollution, sanitary landfill planning, and public water supply protection. Between 1990 and 2012, 103 counties adopted environmental codes that meet the standards outlined in KDHE Bulletin 4-2, Minimum Standards for Design and Construction of Onsite Wastewater Systems.

In 2012, funding was discontinued for this program. KDHE-Watershed Management Section continues to support the LEPP by providing technical assistance to counties. The LEPPs are the primary point of contact for a wide range of services governed by county sanitary codes, state regulations, and federal regulations. Examples of some of these activities are:

  • OWWS permitting and preliminary and final inspections to verify minimum county sanitary codes and state standards are met.
  • Providing the technical oversight to assist County Conservation District (CCD) offices with the cost-share program for failing OWWSs.
  • Licensing of OWWS installers and septage pumpers.
  • Ensuring PWWs are properly sited prior to installation.
  • Conducting inspections of OWWSs and PWWs that serve foster care homes and day care facilities as required by current KDHE regulations.
  • Responding to environmental complaints and conducting follow up investigations for failing OWWSs, PWWs, and illegal dump sites that may include collaboration with KDHE.
  • Providing education and technical assistance to elected officials and county residents.
  • Maintaining databases of OWWS permits and inspections for present and future reference.
  • Conducting inspections of OWWSs and PWWs when required for a real estate transaction.

KDHE Watershed Management Section

LEPP County Sanitarian

Find Your LEPP County Sanitarian


Ann D'Alfonso, Topeka Office

1000 SW Jackson St, Suite 420
Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 296-3015

Scott Satterthwaite, Topeka Office

1000 SW Jackson St, Suite 420
Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 296-5573

Rich Basore, SC District Office

300 West Douglas
Wichita, KS 67202
(316) 337-6014
Current Legislation
County Codes