By: Lindsie Nicholas, Watershed Coordinator, Bluegrass Greensource

Did you know that a failing septic system can require expensive repairs, pose a serious health risk to your family and neighbors, and have negative impacts on water quality? Leaking/failing systems deliver raw sewage into our watersheds, endangering people and livestock in the area with increased bacteria (E. coli) inputs into waterways. There are many serious health issues that can occur from coming into contact with untreated septic waste.  Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your system working efficiently and preventing risks of costly failure.

Bluegrass Greensource is offering a series of free workshops over the next two years to provide education on how to properly maintain your septic system and protect the value of your home and the environment.

Workshop participants are eligible to apply for funding assistance including a cost-share grant for septic system repairs/installation, or a free septic tank pumpout (a regular maintenance task that is recommended every 3 to 5 years).

Each cost-share grant will pay 80% of the repair or installation cost, while the homeowner is responsible for the remaining 20%. Free septic tank pumpouts are available by application for those that attend a workshop.

The first round of free septic system workshops will be held on:

 -Monday, April 9th at 6 PM at the Nicholas County Health Department (2320 Concrete Rd, Carlisle, KY)

-Thursday, April 12th at 6 PM at the Montgomery County Health Department (108 E Locust St, Mount Sterling, KY)

-Tuesday, April 17th at 6 PM at the Millersburg City Hall (1113 Main Street, Millersburg, KY)

-Saturday, April 21st at the BCTC Danville Campus (59 Corporate Dr, Danville, KY 40422) during the Boyle County Earth Day Festival; Septic Solutions Mini Sessions offered at 12PM and 1:30PM

-Tuesday, April 24th at 6PM at the Lincoln County Public Library (201 Lancaster St, Stanford, KY)

Please contact Lindsie Nicholas at or (859) 266-1572 with questions. Registration is encouraged but not required at


This program, funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency through Kentucky Division of Water, focuses on water quality improvements in the Hinkston Creek, Clarks Run and Hanging Fork watersheds. To be eligible for grants, homeowners must reside within the Hinkston Creek watershed in Bourbon, Nicholas, or Montgomery County or within the Clarks Run or Hanging Fork watersheds in Boyle or Lincoln County. Bluegrass Greensource will be participating in community events in each county to raise awareness of local water quality issues and promote the financial assistance opportunities available for residents

Later this summer, Bluegrass Greensource will be offering mini reimbursable grants for streambank buffer plantings and improvements along Hinkston Creek, Clarks Run, Hanging Fork, and their tributaries. The process will be similar with workshops where residents will learn about revegetation along streams, erosion control, and livestock exclusion. Landowners and homeowners will receive instruction on how to apply for cost-share assistance through local and federal programs (through the local Conservation District and Natural Resource Conservation Service), as well as assistance for streamside buffer establishment and applying for mini grants available through Bluegrass Greensource.

Be sure to attend a workshop for more information about the program and to find out if you are eligible for financial assistance.

Septic System Information and Tips:

Four main components of a septic system:

  1. A pipe leaving your home that carries wastewater to your tank
  2. A septic tank that is buried and watertight, where specific bacteria begin to break down the materials in wastewater
  3. A drain field where wastewater exits through drainpipes and into the soil for further breakdown
  4. The soil, where different bacteria help to treat contamination from your wastewater as it works its way into the groundwater

Tips for Protecting Your Septic System:

  • Arrange for a system pumpout every 3 to 5 years
  • Use water efficiently to reduce strain on the system
  • Don’t pour chemicals and non-biodegradable materials down drains or into toilets
  • Flush only sanitary waste
  • Do not flush garbage (floss, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, etc.)
  • Reduce or eliminate use of garbage disposals
  • Choose low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents
  • Avoid driving heavy equipment, including vehicles, over the system and drainfield
  • Redirect surface water flow away from your systems leach field.
  • Keep records of septic system pumping and maintenance, including a map of septic system and drainfield locations