Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060

Operation & Maintenance

Operation & Maintenance of Sewage Treatment Systems

There are approximately 14,000 residential sewage treatment systems in Lake County that range in age and type from the most common with septic tanks and leaching trenches to the newest technology of mounds and drip distribution.  Regardless of the type of system a homeowner has there are some basic operation and maintenance requirements that apply to all systems:

What you should do

  • Have your septic tank pumped out  & inspected every 2-5 years by a registered septage hauler
  • Keep septic tank cover accessible with a water tight riser for ease of pumping
  • Keep roof water, footer drain water, & surface drainage out of the septic tank and away from the soil absorption field
  • Conserve water to avoid overloading septic system
  • Learn the location of your septic system
    and protect  it from physical damage
  • Wash your laundry over the course of the week, don’t overload your system by doing all of the laundry on one day

What you should not do 

  • Don’t drive or park over any part of the septic system
  • Don’t use your toilet as a trash can; keep diapers, cigarette filters, cat litter, and  feminine hygiene products out of your system
  • Don’t put excessive chemicals down the drain-chemicals can kill the beneficial bacteria that treat your wastewater
  • Don’t pour grease down your sink
  • Don’t use septic tank additives; under normal operation conditions these  products usually are not needed and some may even be harmfulFor more information on the basics of sewage system maintenance click here:
  • A Homeowner’s Guide to Maintaining Your Sewage Treatment System
  • For conventional septic system information click here:  Septic TanksConventional Leaching and Evapotranspiration Trenches

Operation & Maintenance Frequently Asked Questions

Operation & Maintenance Fact Sheet 2017

Operation & Maintenance Report Form 2018



Operation and Maintenance by Type of Sewage Treatment System 

Aerobic (Aeration) Treatment Systems

Aerobic treatment systems, commonly called “aeration” units are actually much smaller versions of municipal wastewater treatment plants. These systems function much differently than a septic system, since they use oxygen for wastewater treatment.  Aeration units can also be used in place of septic tanks when followed by soil absorption components such as trenches, mound or drip tubing.  These systems treat the wastewater by adding oxygen from either an aerator motor or an air compressor which mixes the sewage and uses bacteria needing the oxygen to break down the waste.  Aerobic treatment systems usually contain some type of filtration mechanism and if they discharge to a watercourse they will have some form of disinfection unit.

The key maintenance requirements are as follows:

  • Keep the aerator motor or air compressor properly operating at all times.  The wastewater will not be treated if there is no oxygen.
  • Aerobic treatment units do accumulate solids and need to be pumped at a frequency recommended by the manufacturer and/or the service provider
  • Maintain an ongoing service contract with a service provider that has been trained and is qualified to maintain your type of system.  Contact the Health District for a list of service providers registered in Lake County.

For more information on aerobic treatment systems 

For information on discharging aerobic treatment units with Ohio EPA NPDES permits click here


Mound sewage treatment systems are utilized in slowly permeable soils with limitations such as seasonal high water and shallow bedrock. Mounds are considered as a newer system option but they have been used in Lake County since 1988. 

For more specific information on mounds view Mound Sewage Treatment Systems

Drip Distribution

Drip distribution is a system utilized timed, pressurized micro dosing.  This type of distribution of wastewater is a newer technology and is utilized on sites with limiting conditions such as seasonal high water tables, shallow bedrock and slowly permeable soils. Drip distribution is a zoned system that can be utilized on site with difficult topography as well. For more specific information on drip distribution please view the fact sheets on drip distribution and the various methods of installation below:

Drip Distribution Overview       

Drip Distribution in a mound 

Drip Distribution at grade

Drip Distribution below grade