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Septic Systems

Overview

Many homes in the City of Berkeley Lake have septic systems. Keeping your system from failing can help you save money and protect our river, streams and lake.

Function

Septic systems consist of three main parts:
  • The septic tank provides temporary storage for wastewater that allows bacteria to start the filtering process.
  • Wastewater then enters the drain field that consists of gravel-lined trenches and perforated pipes or trenches with other types of products that allow wastewater to soak into the soil.
  • Once the wastewater is in the soil, natural processes purify it before it is released back into the groundwater.
Your individual system may have other parts depending on the topography or system type.
Septic tanks should be pumped every 5 years. Limiting the amount of solids, fats, oils and greases that are added to your tank can help prevent clogging and reduce system failure. Pesticides, paints, solvents, disinfectants, and other household chemicals may kill the bacteria that helps purify the wastewater and should not be disposed of into a septic system. Remember that your toilets are not trash cans!

Inspection & Maintenance

In an effort to protect the natural environment and water resources, the City of Berkeley Lake adopted an ordinance requiring regular inspection and maintenance of septic systems (see Septic Ordinance Chapter 58). The city requires that septic system owners have their septic systems inspected and pumped at least once every five years and provide documentation of that activity to the city for its records. The city mails reminder notices to septic system owners 90 days prior to the compliance deadline. 
The city recognizes that there are variables and circumstances which may prevent the need for inspection and maintenance at that frequency; therefore, extensions are available if certain criteria are met. Septic system owners who believe they should be eligible for a compliance deadline extension should complete the appropriate extension application and submit it to city hall at least 30 days before the compliance deadline.

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