Septic System Outreach
The Good Neighbor: Neighborhood Ambassador Program helps homeowners in Northwest Indiana reduce septic system failures and the resulting negative impacts to water quality in the Coastal Region. Clean Water Ambassadors share information with homeowners about maintaining septic systems. The program was created by the Septic System Coordination Work Group, with guidance from the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program and Save the Dunes.
For more information about the Neighborhood Ambassador Program, or to become a Clean Water Ambassador, contact Bri Ciara, Special Projects Coordinator coastal@dnr.IN.gov, 219-921-0863.
Clean Water Ambassador Responsibilities
- Function as an advocate for septic system maintenance and care
- Be familiar with septic system function and maintenance resources and refer neighbors accordingly
- Communicate with neighbors and promote routine septic system maintenance
- Attend periodic neighborhood association, town council meetings, and any other identified meeting that requires Septic System Coordination Work Group representation
- Organize and manage a Septic Awareness Week in the month of September
- Attend mandatory trainings and meetings with the Septic System Coordination Work Group
Outreach Materials Request
The following materials are available. To request, please e-mail your name and shipping address to coastal@dnr.IN.gov
- Good Neighbor Brochure
- SepticSmart Brochure
- Advanced Treatment Unit
- Homeowner’s Guide
- 1/3 panel
- Tips postcard
- Contacts postcard
- EPA Sign
Septic System Owner FAQs
- How do I know if I have a septic system?
Check your water or garbage bill. Community sewer systems will have fees and associated billing. If you are unsure, call your local sewer or water management agency.
- How often should I have my septic tank pumped and inspected?
Certified and licensed professionals should pump and inspect your tank every three to five years. However, if you are having issues, or experience any warning signs, contact a professional immediately.
- What are some warning signs that might indicate failure of my septic system?
Some warning signs may include any of the following:
- Wastewater backing up into household drains.
- A strong odor around your septic tank or drain field.
- Standing water.
- Bright green, spongy grass appearing on the drain field, even during dry weather.
If you are experiencing any of these scenarios, call a licensed professional as soon as possible.
- What objects or fluids should I avoid putting down my drain?
Avoid pouring grease, fats, or harmful chemicals like paints and solvents. Don’t flush non-degradable items such as diapers, wipes, or feminine hygiene products. They can clog or otherwise harm your system.
- Besides regularly maintaining my system, what else should I do?
- Don’t drive or park on your drain field.
- Avoid planting trees and shrubs over the drain field.
- Fix household leaks.
- Use water efficiently to avoid overtaxing your system.