Whether it’s a septic system or a sewer system, everything that goes down our drains eventually makes its way into our environment.

Our wastewater (water that has been used for washing, flushing, manufacturing, etc.) directly affects the cleanliness and quality of groundwater and surface water in local waterways, the Neponset River, and Boston Harbor, impacting drinking water sources and environmental habitats.

Reduce the negative impacts of residential wastewater on our waterways:

  • Replace harsh chemical cleaners with non-toxic, more environmentally-friendly products.
    • Follow the directions on cleaners and use only the recommended amounts.
  • Never pour medicine down the sink or flush it down the toilet!  To dispose of medication in your household trash:
    • Remove labels from containers.
    • Mix medicine (do not crush tablets or capsules) with dirt, kitty litter or used coffee grounds, and place in a sealed plastic bag before throwing away.
  • Find a medication collection program in your community:
    • Call your local pharmacy, hospital, fire or police department.  New federal regulations allow pharmacies and hospitals to collect old medicine. Many police and fire departments have disposal kiosks.

Maintain your septic system

Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by stormwater and discharged into nearby waterways.

Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns.  Learn how your septic system works to eliminate stormwater pollution, and to avoid costly clean outs and repairs.

Learn more:

The Sewer:  Where Your Waste Goes (MWRA)

All About Septic Systems (EPA)

Homebuyers Guide to Septic Systems (HIC)

Septic Systems, Explained (Suburban Property Inspections)

About Title 5 (MA Dept. of Environmental Protection)

Re-consider Your Chemical Use at Home (MWRA)