BOZEMAN — Montana State University Extension has two new educational folders available for private well and septic system owners.

Homeowners not served by public water systems are responsible for maintaining their own well and septic systems, according to Adam Sigler, MSU Extension water quality associate specialist. He noted that a lot of problems with well and septic systems are easily avoidable with basic maintenance, and that keeping good records of that maintenance is a step in the right direction.

The new, printed folders – one for wells and a second for septic systems – provide information on how the systems operate, as well as a way to keep written records so that homeowners can find those records quickly and eventually pass them on to future property owners.

Private well owners are responsible for testing their own water quality to ensure it is safe for drinking, and it is important to keep copies of the test results for future reference, Sigler said.

The well folder provides a way for owners to organize printed copies of test results along with information on well service records or water treatment system installation and maintenance. The folder includes diagrams and well protection pointers to help ensure a reliable and safe water supply.

Septic tanks require regularly scheduled pumping to operate properly and to avoid damage to the system’s drain field, which could lead to early failure and big costs, Sigler said.

“Being thoughtful about what goes down the drain can extend the life of the system,” Sigler said. “It is also important to avoid driving over any part of a septic system and planting shallow-rooted plants that will not interfere.”

The septic system folder includes information on suggested pumping frequency as well as tips for extending the life of the system. It also provides a way to keep a map of the septic system with records of service.

The folders are available in print from store.msuextension.org/ .

MSU Extension provides Montana citizens with unbiased, research-based education and information to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals, families and communities. To learn more, visit msuextension.org.

-by MSU News Service-