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  • Septic System Maintenance and Pumping Program

    The Jefferson County Health Department's Dif-Sip Program

    The Jefferson County Health Department with input from the Water advisory committee has adopted a program, set to go into effect July 1, 2015, that will require on-site sewage disposal systems (septic tank systems) to be inspected/pumped every 5 years as part of a program of ongoing maintenance and care. Neglect and abuse of septic systems is one of the primary causes of failure. Below is a brochure (in 6 parts) giving a brief explanation of how a septic tank soil absorption system works and a description of the Dif-Sip program.

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    Comments 10 Comments
    1. toberah's Avatar
      toberah -
      Okay the name of the program is truly disgusting. "Sip your tank"? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW.
    1. Willis's Avatar
      Willis -
      I think it got your attention
    1. LFE's Avatar
      LFE -
      Elks Run Watershed Water Quality Improvement Project

      At the August 21, 2010 Jefferson County Organization of Homeowners
      Association (JCOHOA) meeting, Jennifer Garlesky, a Conservation
      Specialist with the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District gave a
      short presentation on the Elks Run Watershed Water Quality Improvement
      Project. If you live within the Elks Run Watershed you are eligible
      for a 50% cost-share on septic pumping up to $150, which includes a
      free septic inspection. An application to take advantage of this
      program is attached. The application has also been posted on the
      JCOHOA website,, see "Septic tank program".
      Please share this with your communities.

      The Conservation District is looking into making this program
      available to individuals living in other watersheds in Jefferson
      County due to the forthcoming Chesapeake Bay Initiative. This
      Initiative will require a reduction in nutrients, sediments and other
      pollutants that enter the Bay from our local tributaries. If you have
      any questions, please contact the Eastern Panhandle Conservation
      District (vCard also attached, double click to add to your address

      Jennifer Garlesky
      Conservation Specialist
      Eastern Panhandle Conservation District
      West Virginia Conservation Agency
      (304) 263-4376
      fax (304) 263-4986
      [email protected]
      153 Aikens Center, Suite 1
      Martinsburg WV 25401
    1. tkaufman's Avatar
      tkaufman -
      I was expecting to find my septic tank location on the plat of my house. To my dismay there is nothing. Where are the records of my sewage distribution system? My only other choice will be to get out my shovel and guess.
    1. Willis's Avatar
      Willis -
      Quote Originally Posted by wkaufman View Post
      I was expectiong to find my septic tank location on the plat for my house. To my dimay, there is nothing. Where are the records of my sewage distribution system? My only other choice would be to get out a shovel and guess........

      The Health Department's Sanitarian, Bill Zaleski, will be able to help (304-728-8415). Have your lot # and section handy. As as part of the "dif-sip" program, septic tanks will be be pinpointed by GIS/GPS coordinates, eventually. The Department should have a record if the system was installed after 1970 and was permitted.

      One of the reasons for the implementation of the program was for instances such as yours, wk, where a new owner is clueless as to where the system is located and, in some cases, what the heck a septic system is. BTW, depending on the financing of the real estate transaction, the HD may have evaluated the water and sewer systems serving your property as a requirement of the sale.

      Oops, TK, your post snuck in while I was responding to WK
    1. tkaufman's Avatar
      tkaufman -
      Thanks Willis!!!! great information, our realtor was of no help and all we have is a document saying our septic system passed. I have no idea how they could know if they did not dig it up. Our home is only 11 years old so I would hope somebody documented something.
    1. Willis's Avatar
      Willis -
      Quote Originally Posted by tkaufman View Post
      ...we have is a document saying our septic system passed. I have no idea how they could know if they did not dig it up....
      When the department is asked to evaluate a sewage system, more often than not it is at a residence that is unoccupied. If occupied, extra care may have been taken by the owners to minimize system usage (wink, wink). The Sanitarian is generally limited to an on-site evaluation that would include looking for evidence of past failure, abuse such as driveways, patios and home additions built over the tank and field, surface water directed toward the disposal system, overloading by the addition of bedrooms, and the list could go on and on to include other wild and crazy things that people do since the septic system is out of sight and mind.

      One thing not recommended is uncovering the system to take a peek. Moving heavy equipment onto the property and excavating key elements of the installation would likely do more damage than good. All things considered, if the system was installed under permit, inspected and the builder and subsequent homeowners have exercised common sense, the sewage system can likely be expected to operate satisfactorily.

      The questions beg, "are you having a problem?" or "are you wisely endeavoring to learn more about a crucial component of your considerable investment?"
    1. KatherineA's Avatar
      KatherineA -
      Maybe this should be a new thread BUT anyway - as the ground dried up during this summer's drought it looked like the septic lid thingie was sinking deeper.

      Is it possible for the lid to drop in? Who would check this out? A plumber? A septic pump person? Should I not worry? Will I or someone else fall in if I step on the lid?
    1. Willis's Avatar
      Willis -
      Must be some good Sh*t. The earth is swallowing it. I can't visualize the problem. Is it the cleanout/riser that is now required on tanks? It may have been installed in such a manner that it COULD come loose and slowly slip into the tank. Sounds as though this would be an instance whee a shovel could be used to determine cause. Ole Willis could prolly take a peek at a time convenient for both of us, too. But don't expect to see a shovel in his tender, sensitive hands
    1. KatherineA's Avatar
      KatherineA -
      It is the big lid that the septic pumpers lift off so that they can pump the poop. Is that the clean out riser?

      No shovel required. It is clear where this is happening just pull in my yard and see the sink hole. I put boards across the big indent in the yard, just in case. As I recall from the last time it was pumped out (2009), that the "handle" on the lid broke, so it needs a pry bar and at least 2 men to get the lid off. I am just concerned that it could?? fall in the poop tank.