You Can Help Protect Water Quality: A Request for Survey Responses.
In a 2007 survey titled “Understanding Your Views on Lake Pend Oreille Water Quality,” lakeshore property owners stated they considered the single greatest threat to water quality to be pollution from sewage and septic systems.
A 1996 Report to Congress from the National Water Quality Inventory stated that "improperly constructed and poorly maintained septic systems are believed to cause substantial and widespread nutrient and microbial contamination to ground water." Three large waterbodies in Bonner County currently listed by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) as “impaired” by nutrients are Lake Pend Oreille, Pend Oreille River, and the Pack River.
To further investigate the threat of nutrient pollution from sewage systems to theses waterbodies, Tri-State Water Quality Council is conducting an additional survey of waterfront property owners. Almost 1700 surveys were sent out in the first week of August. Survey responses are confidential, information is not used for regulatory action.
Homeowners also have the option of providing contact information to become eligible for up to 50% of the cost to inspect their septic system and to pump their septic tank. If you are a shoreline property owner with a septic tank and do not receive a survey in the mail, you can complete the survey online at www.tristatecouncil.org.
We greatly appreciate your participation in this important survey and look forward to hearing from you!
Some septic system facts from the US EPA:
- More than half the systems in the United States were installed more than 30 years ago when onsite rules were nonexistent or poorly enforced
- 1995 Census data found over 10 percent of all systems back up into homes or have wastewater emerging on the ground surface
- 1996 Clean Water Needs Survey identified more than 500 communities as having failed septic systems that have caused public health problems
- In 1996, States reported septic systems as a leading source of pollution for more than one-third (36%) of the impaired miles of ocean shoreline surveyed