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 Septic Health Home Page

In the fall of 2000 The Town of Nags Head began a Septic Health Initiative program designed to develop strategies and programs to improve the performance of septic systems in the Town. Failing, or poorly maintained septic systems can adversely impact water quality in the sounds and ocean surrounding the Town. The programs developed were the result of several years of work from the Town of Nags Head Septic Health Committee.

The Septic Health Committee was established in 1997. This committee is composed of a cross-section of Town citizens sharing a deep concern for the protection of water quality within and around the Town. The Septic Health Committee has developed, and the elected Board of Commissioners approved a series of programs designed to improve the performance of septic systems while gathering information about septic systems in the town. The Septic Health Initiative has four separate but interrelated programs; Septic Tank Pumping Program; Water Quality Monitoring program; an Education Program and a Decentralized Wastewater Master Plan.

Guiding the development of the Septic Health Initiative were the goals of the Septic Health Committee and a companion goal in the Towns Land and Water Use Plan. The Goal of the Septic Health Initiative is to reduce the need for central sewage and improve the quality of the Town’s surface and groundwater by improving the performance of individual septic systems used to dispose of wastewater throughout the town.

The Board of Commissioners adopted the following goal for the 2000 land and Water Use Plan. 

The Town of Nags Head is to provide an economic and environmentally sensitive means of sewage treatment and disposal which maintains or improves the quality of the Town’s surface waters and groundwater, and maintain low density development. (The Land and Water Use Plan is a policy document guiding development in the Town for the next ten years).

With the above goals as a guide, the Septic Health Committee developed, and the Board of Commissioners approved the following four programs for implementation:

Septic Tank Pumping and Inspection Program

This program is designed to encourage homeowners through incentives and educational resources to have their septic systems inspected and pumped on a regular basis.  The inspection data collected during the pumping process will be used to develop a Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan.

Water Quality Monitoring Program

In order to measure the effectiveness of the Town's Septic Health Initiative the Town is monitoring 31 ground and surface water sites throughout the Town to identify problems (if any) associated with septic systems.

Education Program

Aimed at homeowners, guests and school children, the education program is designed to increase awareness about water quality and the importance of proper operation and maintenance of septic systems.

Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan

The long-term goal of the Septic Health Initiative is to develop a plan that will allow the continued use of on-site systems in the Town without impacts on water quality. This program is a long-term strategy to protect water quality and allow the continued use of on-site septic systems.

For a detailed explanation of each of these programs, follow the links in the left margin.

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