Malibu properties are on onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS, aka septic systems), and are among the nearly one-quarter of all American households that depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater. Septic systems need proper maintenance to prevent back-ups and overflows that can lead to costly repairs for property owners and pollution of sensitive waterways, watersheds, and groundwater.
The City participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SepticSmart Week each September.
Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every 3-5 years by a City of Malibu Registered OWTS Inspector, and have their tank pumped when necessary, typically every three to five years. Many septic system failures occur during the winter holiday season. Therefore, EPA encourages homeowners to get their septic systems inspected and serviced now before licensed inspectors’ schedules fill up around the holidays.
Think at the Sink
Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain. These substances can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
Don’t Overload the Commode
Only put things in the drain or toilet that belong there. For example, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, and cat litter can all clog and potentially damage septic systems.
Don’t Strain Your Drain
Be water-efficient and spread out water use. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products. Spread out laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day - too much water at once can overload a system that has not been recently pumped.
Shield Your Field
Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s tank and drainfield where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.