The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is launching a new program this week to address the growing issue of wastewater contamination in the region.
Septic Smart will offer onsite septic system owners a number of free resources to help them save money, extend the life of their systems, and help the environment.
Population growth in the Shuswap is putting pressure on the natural environment. Many homes built in the area do not have adequate septic systems to treat wastewater before it is reintroduced into the environment, groundwater and the surrounding lakes.
“Wastewater contamination is already an issue in the Shuswap and Mara lakes. By launching Septic Smart, the CSRD is taking a proactive role in addressing this growing concern,” says Darcy Mooney, CSRD environment and engineering deputy manager and project co-ordinator. “We’re hoping septic owners will use this reference material because the benefits of proper septic maintenance will save them money and the environment.”
Developed by waste management professionals, Septic Smart includes an easy-to-read homeowner guide that covers the various types of septic systems and the most cost-effective way of maintaining them.
Online videos offer great how-to tips, ranging from locating your septic system to understanding what can go down the drain and minimizing impacts.
The program also includes a children’s activity booklet which will be distributed in schools in Electoral Areas C South Shuswap, E Rural Sicamous and F North Shuswap.
“This is the first time the CSRD has done an educational program of this magnitude,” says Mooney. “When the regional district was working with residents in electoral areas D, E and F during their liquid waste management plans processes, we were given a clear mandate to include an educational component.”
Area E director Rhona Martin says she hopes this will bring more public awareness to the issue of septic maintenance.
“If we can make people aware of how their systems operate, it will be a benefit to everybody.”
Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process (SLIPP) program manager Sarah Evanetz says Septic Smart is a positive initiative for all Shuswap watershed residents.
“The CSRD’s Septic Smart Program is a great initiative that raises awareness about septic contamination and provides people with tools to protect their health, home and the environment. The program contributes to healthy lake water quality that we all depend on for drinking and recreation.”
Details about the program and all the resources are available to the public free of charge at www.csrd.bc.ca/septicsmart. Hard copies of the homeowners’ guide, brochures and the children’s booklet are available at the CSRD office. You can also get updates on the program and local wastewater management issues on the regional district’s Facebook page [CSRD Septic Smart] or follow them on Twitter [@csrdsepticsmart].