~ OSDS Public Service Announcement - 30 sec. (MPEG4) ~
~ Understanding Your Septic System
Video - 9mins.(MPEG4)
(Georgia Dept. of Community Health) ~
Septic System Diagram (North GA Water Planning District)
Onsite Disposal Systems(OSDS): Location, Inspection & Maintenance (Phase I)
The University of Georgia Marine Extension Service implemented a Section 319 grant project to conduct a comprehensive environmental regulatory program for officials of local governments and homeowners concerning the relationship between individual OSDS (septic systems) and surface water quality. This program stresses the requirement for protection and prevention of septic contamination, thus calls for periodic inspection and maintenance by home owners. The primary step is to identify and locate ALL existing OSDS and wells, each individual system being visually inspected and evaluated for signs of failure by local health department personnel. All identified failing systems will require compliance and enforcement action, that is, ultimate replacement per Georgia Statute, which is essential to prevent impairment of coastal waters. The location of all existing OSDS and wells will be recorded with a handheld GPS to provide the geo-location within the proximity of marshlands or other waters of the state in Bryan, Effingham, Liberty and Long counties . Marex will also assist the pilot program participants Camden , Chatham and McIntosh counties in uploading GPS data into the OSDS database. A Phase II proposal comprising of Camden, Chatham, Glynn & McIntosh counties will begin in July 2010. In addition the project is producing GIS maps and overlays of the OSDS and wells and utilizing the Southern Georgia Regional Commission's (SGRC) transferable geo-referenced database which will be web accessible and a standardized method of recording all future OSDS installations for all of the Coastal Non Point Source area health departments.
GIS imagery (Doug Atkinson - UGA MAREX) of septic systems
marshlands in Chatham County.
(Image by: Google Earth)
Phase I - Project Activities
Utilizing GPS technicians, the Coastal Health District and MAREX will conduct a survey of OSDS and wells in proximity to marshlands or other waters of the state in Bryan, Effingham, Liberty and Long counties . Addresses for residential and business properties located within a pre-determined distance of marshlands or other waters of the state and not connected to public water and/or septic tank systems will be obtained through official local records. A letter explaining the goals of this project will be drafted in conjunction with the Coastal Health District and mailed to each address at least two weeks prior to the survey. The letter will further advise that a GPS technician will visit their property and an approximate date given.
The GPS technician will visit each selected property. Drinking wells will be located visually. OSDS will be located by probing the ground with a thin metal rod. Positions of each OSDS and well will be recorded with a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit. Some areas, such as underneath heavy tree canopy or between adjacent houses, produce poor or no GPS reception. In these cases an offset will be employed to improve reception. The receiver will be placed in a more open area, such as the driveway or road near the site. Distance from that location to the OSDS or well will be measured with a laser range finder and bearings will be obtained by a handheld compass. This information will be input in the GPS , which will offset the point by the distance and compass bearing specified. The offset methodology will also be employed in situations in which access is denied by such things as locked gates, goats, or large dogs. Surveyors will visually inspect all septic tank systems for signs of failure. Systems suspected of failure will be reported to appropriate Health District officials. Health District officials will perform a follow-up investigation and utilize enforcement powers to cause repairs and/or replacements to be made.
MAREX will partner in this project with the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC). The SGRC has developed and implemented an on-line data base for OSDS information in the counties within their geographic region. This project will develop a process by which coastal counties may access the data base and upload and store OSDS data. MAREX will oversee the entry of data collected from this project and provide technical assistance to participating counties in the entry of records not recorded electronically. MAREX will also provide technical assistance to local Health Departments and public officials in other coastal counties to develop plans, methodologies and resources sufficient for utilizing the SGRC electronic data base. With assistance from the SGRC, electronic data base capabilities will be expanded to all coastal counties. All appropriate OSDS data, therein, will be electronically recorded and stored.
MAREX will perform GIS mapping and analyses of the collected data. Arcview Shape files will be converted to a GIS base map and the data points overlaid and analyzed. MAREX will also confer with the SGRC and will ensure that the GIS configuration and data sets are compatible with similar processes already developed by the SGRC.
Final Report & Maps
OSDS Phase I - Final Report
University of Georgia Onsite Wastewater Management
Georgia Department of Community Health - Environmental Health
Environmental Protection Agency - Septic Onsite Systems
National Environmental Services Center - Wastewater & Onsite Systems
For more information contact:
University of Georgia
Marine Extension Service
715 Bay Street
Brunswick, GA 31520
Back To Top