Environment Erie

Environment Erie holds workshop on septic systems

Jan 02, 2014 | Posted in News

PUBLISHED: JANUARY 2, 2014 12:01 AM EST

That sewage escaping from your leaking septic system could be leaching into your well water or making its way to the Lake Erie waters off Presque Isle State Park.

Environment Erie is offering education and funding to landowners so they can maintain and improve their septic systems to protect local watersheds.

"We just want to inform people," said Regina Remetta, Environment Erie's project assistant. "We want to help people."

The organization will hold a free workshop Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive. Environment Erie also has $18,000 in state grant money to help owners improve systems.

"We want this to be used for septic system upgrades," Remetta said.

She said the amount available for each landowner will depend on how many seek funds. The money is available through the state Department of Environmental Protection's Growing Greener program, Remetta said.

The workshop's emphasis is on the Walnut Creek watershed, but the event isn't limited to people with property there.

"It's open to anyone in Erie County that has a septic system," said Matthew Pluta, Environment Erie program manager.

He and Remetta said that when septic systems fail, they affect local water quality. Sewage can leak into nearby bodies of water, such as wells and Walnut Creek, and eventually make its way into water around Presque Isle. That could even contribute to the need to close beaches at the park, Pluta said.

The Environment Erie officials said that improvements and regular maintenance of septic systems can reduce the amount of excess nutrients being released into the watershed. That can provide a better habitat for steelhead and other aquatic species as well as the humans that share the water resource.

Reservations are required for the workshop by Jan. 13 and can be made by calling 835-8069, Ext. 101, or e-mailing educator@environmenterie.org.

DANA MASSING can be reached at 870-1729 or by e-mail. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNmassing.
dana.massing@timesnews.com