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Septic Systems

Man servicing septic system

Septic systems are separate from the county sanitary sewer system.  The main difference is septic systems treat wastewater onsite, whereas the sanitary sewer system transports wastewater to be treated.  In Cobb County, we have four water reclamation facilities. Check your water bill and if you are being charged for sewer, you are not on a septic system. If you don’t see a sewer fee on your water bill, you likely have an onsite sewage treatment system or septic tank.

Having an onsite sewage treatment system requires proper care and ongoing maintenance. Familiarizing yourself with preventative measures will significantly reduce the hassle and expense of system repair or replacement and will reduce or eliminate health risks and negative impacts on the environment. Every septic owner should know where your tank is located, understand how to maintain a septic system and recognize signs of system failure.  It is a good idea to inspect and the tank, the lines, and the absorption field on a regular basis. A certified inspector should check your system and pump the tank every 3-5 years. The routine expense of maintaining your system is much more cost-effective than dealing with a system failure.

Septic systems have three components:

  1. The septic tank -  removes large solids, protecting absorption field from clogs.
  2. The absorption field - distributes wastewater into the soil.
  3. The soil – filters, clean and moves wastewater from absorption field to ground or surface water.

Maintenance Requirements:

  • Pump your septic tank every 3-5 years, removing all liquids and solids.

Symptoms of Failure:

  • Wastewater at soil surface (sewage odor, soggy soil). 
  • Wastewater back up into home. 
  • Elevated bacteria levels downstream. 


  • Use low-flow fixtures.
  • Check Water Pressure – it should be around 80 psi.
  • Fix water leaks.
  • Manage your onsite water use.
  • Do not use the toilet or sink to dispose of household waste (medicine, cleaners, etc.).
  • Do not use the garbage disposal.
  • Limit use of drain cleaners, bleach, and other strong chemicals in toilets and sinks.
  • Direct downspouts and other runoff away from the absorption field.