Sports

Keep Your Septic System in Super Shape

By Christina Catanese

With the recent onrush of holiday guests, your septic system probably got a pretty good workout .  And it might not get much recovery time, with football playoffs in full swing, hockey season about to finally start, and the cold days and long nights of winter that beg to be spent indoors with friends and family.

Septic Smart Logo

If you’re among the nearly one in four households served by septic systems, EPA has some “SepticSmart” tips for you to help keep your system in shape:

  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full.  Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products.  Too much water use at once can overload your system, particularly if it hasn’t been pumped in the last couple of years.
  • Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the drain, which can clog your system, or toxic material, which can kill the organisms that digest and treat waste.
  • Have your septic system inspected every three years by a licensed contractor and have the tank pumped when necessary, generally every three to five years.  It can cost $3,000 to $7,000 to repair or replace a malfunctioning system compared to the average $250 to $300 cost to pump a septic system.
  • Don’t flush household products down the toilet.  Dental floss, disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, coffee grounds and cat litter can clog and potentially damage septic systems.
  • Remind guests not to park or drive on your system’s drainfield because the vehicle weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow causing system backups and floods.

A malfunctioning system, in addition to being costly, can kill native plants and fish and shellfish, as well as reduce property values and potentially pose a legal liability.

A properly maintained system helps keep your family’s drinking water clean, reduces the risk of contaminating local waters, and keeps conversation with your guests focused on more pleasant subjects…like the funniest commercials during the big game.

So while you work on your new year’s resolution to be healthier yourself, resolve to keep your septic system in shape too.  For more information, visit www.epa.gov/septicsmart.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Sports and a Sustainable Future

By Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe

With football season starting back up and baseball playoffs around the corner, this is one of my favorite times of the year – and I know many Americans share my excitement.

I am a sports enthusiast. But I am also an environmentalist. Today more than ever, these two passions of mine seem to go hand-in-hand. For the past few years, a number of sports teams, venues and leagues have come forward and expressed interest in greener, cost-saving ways of doing business. These improvements will ensure that, as each pitch is thrown, each goal is scored and each car completes another lap on the racetrack, we’re doing more to conserve resources, clean up our environment and protect the health of our communities.

Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors Chairman and Seattle Mariners Vice President of Ballpark Operations Scott Jenkins and U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sign the memorandum of understanding.

Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors Chairman and Seattle Mariners Vice President of Ballpark Operations Scott Jenkins and U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sign the memorandum of understanding.

Yesterday I joined representatives from the Green Sports Alliance, an organization that represents over 100 teams and venues from 13 different leagues, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Alliance’s second annual Summit in Seattle, WA.

The agreement we signed seeks to build upon our current outreach and sustainability efforts, and it strengthens the partnerships we have with the Alliance so our work can be as far-reaching as possible. It will help ensure that America’s sports teams and venues have the tracking and reporting tools and technical expertise they need to address environmental challenges like waste management, water conservation and pollution. It will also help with the effort to make sports venues’ energy use more efficient – specifically through EPA’s Energy Star program. This year our annual Energy Star National Building Competition has attracted five new sports venues. That’s good news for teams, for the environment and for local communities: Last year’s competition resulted in $5.2 million of utility bill savings and prevented nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere – about the same amount of emissions that come from more than 3,600 homes each year.

Teams, stadiums, and venues across the country are already taking significant steps to increase sustainability and protect our environment. The Philadelphia Eagles are preparing for on-site wind and solar generation at Lincoln Financial Field. The National Hockey League became the first league to join EPA’s Green Power Partnership, offsetting 100 percent of its post-season electricity consumption through its green power commitments. These are just two of dozens of examples of how the sports industry has been discovering cost-effective ways to reduce their environmental footprint and engage fans in bringing about a cleaner, healthier future for our communities.

The best news about all of this work is that it has the potential to reach far beyond the stadiums, the fields and the courts. From little league baseball to the majors, from Pop Warner football to the NFL, Americans share a great love for sports. Our favorite teams are not only important to us; they also have the ability to be influential in raising awareness among their fans and setting positive examples when it comes to sustainability.

For all of these reasons, I’m very proud of EPA’s work with the Green Sports Alliance, and I look forward to seeing where our partnership will take us in seasons to come.

About the author: Bob Perciasepe is the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Take Me Out to the "Green" Ballpark

About the author: Alan J. Steinberg is the Regional Administrator for the New York Regional Office.

I might just be the biggest baseball fan in the world, and, you might say, I am also a major fan of the planet Earth. This year, I had the chance to truly combine business and pleasure, and I’m proud to share my story as the first contributor to a new Agency-wide blog.

Alan Steinberg holds up a baseballAs a baseball “nut,” I’ve been blessed. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh and rooted for the Pirates of Roberto Clemente. I also had great affection for a bunch of “Bums” from Brooklyn, including the courageous Jackie Roosevelt Robinson. In my adult years, I became a New York Mets fan. All’s right in my world when baseball is being played at Shea.

Next year, Shea Stadium will give way to the new Citi Field. Recently, I had the pleasure of announcing that our “green team,” a multi-discipline group of EPA staffers focused on pollution prevention, had hit a virtual homerun with the signing of an agreement with the Mets calling for many outstanding green practices at their new ballpark.

The agreement underscores the team’s innovative and comprehensive commitment to sustainable development, spelling out design, construction and operational principles that will ensure that the stadium meets the highest environmental standards. The Mets are building the new ballpark with 95% recycled steel. They’re installing a green roof to decrease energy needs. Water conserving measures, such as hands-free faucets and automated flush valves, will save millions of gallons of water every year.

When Citi Field is fully operational, the Mets plan to join EPA’s WasteWise program and Energy Star. And, that just scratches the surface of the many planned, environmentally friendly features of the new ballpark. Citi Field will be a model for other sports arenas (hint, hint…Yankees).

As I announced the agreement from Shea Stadium, I couldn’t help but think that the New York Mets had hit a grand slam, converting a “field of dreams” into a “field of green.”

And, what better time is there to be green than the start of baseball season and the Earth Day celebration? I hope you all do right by the planet, and I encourage you to keep reading this blog as staffers from across the Agency share their stories. Happy Earth Day everyone!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.