November 2022
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Septic Smart
Take Care of Septic Systems to Protect Water Quality
Did you know there are still active home sewage treatment systems (aka HSTS) in Franklin County? An HSTS is like a mini wastewater treatment system for your home. HSTS are very common in rural areas or areas without city sewer service. We might think of Franklin County being mostly urban or suburban, but there are still quite a few septic systems that are still active.
What do septic systems have to do with water quality?
A septic system that isn't properly maintained can leak and pollute a nearby waterway. It's not good for water quality or the aquatic life that lives in the waterway. It smells and can contaminate nearby drinking water sources like surface water, groundwater, and wells. It can be unsafe for humans to come into contact with and could spread diseases or infections.

If you find a leaking HSTS in City of Columbus city limits, please contact Columbus Public Health. If you have an HSTS and live within City of Columbus, check out their Septic Tank Elimination Program and other resources.

If you find a leaking HSTS in Franklin County but outside the City of Columbus, please file this complaint form with Franklin County Public Health. Check out their resources too.

In Franklin County but not sure if it is inside or outside of Columbus? Think it's leaking sewage but not sure? Call Franklin Soil and Water at 614-486-9613 or contact us via our contact form, and we will help!
Septic Smart Maintanence
It can be $1,000s to $10,000s expensive to repair or replace a septic system. Just like other appliances and mechanicals at home, your HSTS needs routine maintanence to stay effective and protect the longevity of the system. This will save you money in the long run and help to prevent problems or leaking.

Pump It Out - With routine pumping and inspection, your septic tank should last 20 to 30 years! How often you should pump will depend on your specific system and size, but pumping it every three years is the minimum recommendation. A properly maintained HSTS is good for property and resale value too.

Think at the Sink - Your toilet is not a trash can! Neither are your sinks. You can't flush some things down your household drains - these can cause clogs and shorten the life of your drains and septic system. Do not dump or flush these items:
  • Fats/oils/grease
  • Tissues
  • Cigarette butts
  • Feminine products
  • Condoms
  • Wipes
  • Diapers
  • Paints
  • Pesticides/herbicides
  • Medications
  • Bacterial additives

Check out more tips and the graphic below from US EPA's SepticSmart program.
Fight the Cabin Fever: Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Is the cold weather already causing you cabin fever? Here are some upcoming events to stay engaged or volunteer around Central Ohio. Check it out:

Question of the Month
Do you have a septic system at home?
No, I have city/local sewer service
I don't know
Here are the full results from October's poll asking if readers have heard about Stormwater Awareness Week:


Yes, and I plan to participate

No, thanks for letting me know

Nope, but now I will plan to participate!
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Read the latest edition of the monthly newsletter Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Nature Scoop November 2022 - Save Leaves; Hurricane and Native Plants; Fall tips for Our Yards & More!

Learn more at and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613 | e:
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 |