(NAPSI)—During SepticSmart Week, September 21-25, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reminding homeowners of the importance of maintaining their septic systems.

Maintaining a septic system every three to five years can prevent homeowners from spending thousands of dollars on repairs or replacement.

Inspecting your system is not a do-it-yourself project for most. Putting an additive into your system will not detect or fix a malfunction. The best course of action is to go with a professional service provider every three to five years to inspect and pump your system.

In addition to regular maintenance, here are some other things you can do to ensure your system functions properly:

Think at the Sink: Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain. These substances can clog a system’s pipes and drain field.

Don’t Overload the Commode: Only 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 stagger water use. Fix plumbing leaks and install WaterSense labeled products to save water, including faucet aerators, faucets, toilets and showerheads. Spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day—too much water at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.

Shield Your Field: Do not park or drive on a system’s drain field, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

Aside from saving money, there’s another reason to maintain your system. In many places, water is scarce these days, particularly in the West. With water in limited supply, we need to ensure what is there is safe.

Failing septic systems can contribute excess nutrients and pathogens to our water sources—lakes, rivers, groundwater—and can make the water unsafe. When your system functions properly, it protects you and those around you. If you get your drinking water from a well, this is critical.

For a full list of dos and don’ts and other helpful information, visit www.epa.gov/septicsmart and get SepticSmart!

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)