Private Sewage Systems

Information regarding private sewage pumping systems – “Did you know?”

Many privately-owned sewage systems include pump stations to move wastewater through the system. These can include residential and private septic systems or pump stations where the wastewater source is lower than the public sewer system. These pump stations may stop functioning properly due to a number of reasons causing an overflow of sewage onto the surrounding ground. These incidents are called “sanitary sewer overflows” (SSO) and have the potential to contaminate the surrounding area, including surface waters and wells that provide drinking water.

If an SSO occurs, the use of the system should be avoided until the problem can be corrected. Due to the unsanitary nature of these incidents, the flow of wastewater should be stopped immediately. The problem needs to be corrected prior to resuming wastewater discharges into the system.

A few simple steps can help to prevent or minimize the duration of SSO’s and safeguard against surface water or groundwater contamination which may be someone’s drinking water supply:

- Familiarize yourself with your system to know how it is intended to work.

- See that your septic system is operating properly on a regular basis by looking for liquid on the ground around the system. Water on the surrounding surface should be considered a sign that the system may not be working properly and may require service.

- Have the contact information of someone that can fix the system readily available so a malfunction can be corrected as soon as possible.

Discharges of sewage other than to a properly functioning septic system or a public sewer system are prohibited by the Code of the City of Lebanon as well as Federal and State regulations.

SSO’s must be reported immediately to the City of Lebanon by contacting the Health Inspector (603-448-1524) and DPW offices (603-448-3112) or Lebanon Public Safety (603-448-1212). They will in turn notify the proper City Departments.

In addition, the USEPA requires that all SSO’s be reported to the appropriate authorities within 24 hours of occurrence. Verbal reports must be made by contacting the EPA at (617)-918-1877 or New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services at (603)–271-3503. If you need assistance making this report the Wastewater Treatment Plant staff can be contacted to help.

Your assistance protecting the environment benefits everyone. Your help preventing unsanitary conditions and maintaining a safe environment is greatly appreciated. Everyone has a role in protecting our environment.

Please call the Codes Department at 603-448-1524 or DPW offices at 603-448-3112 if you have any questions.