JAMESTOWN, N.D. ( – It’s Septic Smart week Sept. 19-23.

Marcie Bata is the Director of Environmental Health at Central Valley Health. She says more than one-fifth of all U.S. households have a septic system.

Septic systems work by collecting wastewater from your toilet, sink, and shower, while allowing the solids to settle at the bottom of the tank. From there, the liquids are discharged to a soil treatment area called a “drain field”, where wastewater filters through the soil before joining the groundwater below.

Bata says making sure your septic system is running correctly is important for your health and the environment.

She added it’s easy to forget your septic system, but during this week and before the winter arrives, it’s important to have it inspected or even just to know where it’s located.

Bata says those with septic systems can take precautions and care for their systems multiple ways. These include:

-Using high-efficiency toilets, faucets, and showerheads
-Spreading out washing machine usage through the week
-Not flushing anything besides human waste and toilet paper in the toilet
-Avoiding chemical drain cleaners, oils, grease, or oil-based paints in the sink
-Maintaining your drain field; never park, drive, plant trees, or have livestock on

She says another key to ensuring your system is working correctly is to pump the tank and inspect it.

If you have questions or would like to know where your septic tank is located if on record, you can contact the Central Valley Health District by calling 701-252-8130 or visit

Listen to a full Let’s Talk About It with Marcie Bata below: