Wolf Creek Watershed Septic System Education
TMACOG and a group of local partners have begun work on a new project to improve water quality in the Wolf Creek watershed near Lake Erie by providing education about the operation of home sewage treatment systems and other on-site systems.
Research has shown that bacteria in Wolf Creek has a direct impact on the Lake Erie beaches at Maumee Bay State Park. Many steps have already been taken to reduce bacteria in the waterway. In recent years, the City of Oregon constructed 11 miles of sanitary sewer lines and eliminated about 600 septic systems. However, in the primarily rural area remaining septic systems cannot be eliminated by connecting to sewers. Older or failing septic systems are thought to be a source of some ongoing bacterial contamination of the watershed. The goal of the new project is to ensure that remaining septic systems are well-maintained and in good repair to reduce off-site sewage discharges.
The educational campaign will include evaluation of home systems and explanation of how the various types of systems work. Part of the evaluation may include a dye test. Bright color biodegradable dye is released at the top of the system in the home. Then the property owner or inspector looks to see if the dye has migrated to nearby ditches or waterways. When dye disperses outside of the septic system, the property owner knows that maintenance or repair is needed.
The watershed septic education program addresses households in Oregon and Jerusalem Township that are in the 16-square-mile watershed. Partners in the program include TMACOG, the City of Oregon, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, and Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District.