Lake residents should be aware of septic rules | Smith Mountain Lake Local News

Homeowners or renters can help keep the water in Smith Mountain Lake clean by properly managing the sewer system of any home or rental property. Septic tanks, most of which are invisible, are easy to forget about until something goes wrong. If something goes wrong, it can be an expensive repair that can often be avoided with frequent inspections and pumping.

Improperly functioning sewage systems can seriously endanger the quality of the lake. Much of the lake property was built in the 1960s to 1980s; Hence, many of these systems are in the 40 to 60 year old range and are expected to fail due to age and the natural process of biomatics formation and soil clogging.

Good septic tank maintenance can help extend their lifespan. Malfunctioning, leaky septic tanks are a health risk to homeowners, as well as lake water quality, if they are near lakefronts or tributaries that flow into Smith Mountain Lake, where lake dwellers and visitors swim.

The State of Virginia Health Department and the lake’s adjacent counties have different regulations and recommendations, as detailed below:

Franklin County has specific ordinances regarding septic inspections and expressions. Franklin County properties are required to pump or inspect septic tanks every five years if they are within 500 feet of the SML 795 foot contour of the coastline. Franklin County has a registration system where the county will send a notification letter on the anniversary of the service to remind them that pumping or inspection is due. Property owners should check with the county to ensure they are on the county’s system. Registration can be done online.

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