Septic/ Onsite Wastewater Systems

Many homes in Mississippi rely on septic systems and other types of individual onsite disposal systems (IOWDS) to process their wastewater. These systems can sometimes cause polluted runoff if improperly installed or maintained.
More than 80% of the total water supply used in Mississippi (an estimated 2,600 million gallons) is obtained from groundwater resources.

Groundwater supplies 93% of the potable water consumed in Mississippi and over 100,000 acres of catfish ponds located throughout the State.
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Domestic wastewater (sewage) contains many bacteria and viruses that can cause illness and even death in man, through either direct or indirect contact. For more information on proper repair and maintenance of individually owned onsite wastewater systems (septic systems) see Repairing Onsite Wastewater Systems.

The Mississippi Department of Health has primary responsibility over onsite wastewater treatment systems in the State. These home wastewater treatment systems filter waste through the soil. When septic systems are improperly maintained, or built in areas where soil will not absorb the wastewater or filter out its impurities, sewage may enter streams and lakes. Untreated waste can emerge at the surface and then be washed into our streams and lakes by rainfall. Waste can also seep into and contaminate groundwater. For more information about wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks), click here.