Water Protection Program

Be SepticSmart - Information on Wastewater and Septic Systems

When you think of infrastructure you typically think of roads right?  But there is a ‘hidden’ infrastructure we all tend to forget about since it is underground—our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.  Until there is a water main break or a septic system failure, people don’t tend to think much about it. 

Approximately 25 percent of the U.S. households and 33 percent of new construction (both domestic and commercial) rely on these kinds of systems.  And today’s advanced onsite systems technologies are not the septic systems of the past 30+ years.  Today’s advanced treatment technologies systems are able to treat wastewater to levels that protect the environment similar to traditional sewer systems. They are also able to treat large volumes of wastewater through the use of cluster systems, which are designed to support many homes.  As the nations’ population continues to grow and as cash-strapped communities in rural and small communities look for viable, effective methods of wastewater treatment, onsite systems will continue to play a critical role in our nation’s wastewater infrastructure.  

For homes that have septic systems to treat wastewater, proper septic system care and maintenance is vital to protecting public health and preserving valuable water resources. When homeowners flush and forget about their septic systems, it can lead to system back-ups and overflows, which can result in costly repairs, pollute local waterways, and create a risk to public health and the environment.

To help raise awareness about the need for proper care and maintenance of septic systems and to encourage homeowners to do their part, EPA is launching its first annual SepticSmart Week, September 23-27, 2013. By taking small steps to care for and maintain home septic systems, homeowners not only help protect public health and the environment, they can save money and protect property values. 

For more tips and more on SepticSmart Week, visit: www.epa.gov/septicsmart.

Who Regulates Domestic Wastewater in Missouri?

A common question the Department of Natural Resources hears is “Who regulates domestic wastewater in Missouri?” The answer is different state and local agencies have responsibility for regulating domestic wastewater including on-site wastewater treatment systems, commonly known as septic systems, and there is a clear line between them.

The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for:

The department hosts an advisory group to provide recommendations for amending current residential wastewater regulations.

Related fact sheets and other resources describing permitting, approvals and exemptions are listed at the end of a departmental fact sheet. Learn more.

The Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for:

Of the 114 counties in the state, the Department of Health and Senior Services directly administers on-site wastewater regulations in 26 counties. Twenty-seven counties are regarded as contract counties and implement the Department of Health and Senior Services on-site sewage regulation. Those county programs are administered by the local health department. The remaining 61 counties are considered ordinance counties, meaning they have their own on-site sewage regulations, which are as stringent, if not more than, the Department of Health and Senior Services minimum standards. Learn more and find additional DHSS links included below.

Additional Resources from the Department of Health and Senior Services

Tips for Maintaining your Septic System

Additional Information on Wastewater Systems