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Septic Stuff

Sarah Palin has PR people.  So does Jay-Z.

Add to the list:  Westport’s Wastewater Management Committee.

Your septic tank at work.

The group — formed a year ago by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff — is charged with keeping the town’s rivers, brooks (and Long Island Sound) clean.  I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing I am:  “Sure, septic water — when filtered through leaching systems, and purifying soil — is very clean.  But passing an ordinance mandating homeowners to pump out and inspect their systems every 2 to 5 years — depending on the size of their household and system — seems difficult to enforce, as well as expensive and time-consuming.  So how can the Town of Westport ensure that homeowners understand the importance of properly maintaining their septic tanks?”

Great minds think alike!  That’s why the Wastewater Management Committee’s public relations task force was created.

Composed of RTM members, town officials and others, the PR group’s charge is to educate Westporters about proper septic maintenance.  You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and all that.

The committee started this summer with a 4-page questionnaire.  Homeowners are asked about their septic system; how they treat it and manage it, and what they put it in.  The answers will show the PR folks what Westporters know — and don’t know — about this important topic.

“Septic systems require live bacteria to do their job,” notes PR task force member Diane Cady.  “Bleach, turpentine or harsh chemicals kill the bacteria.  We don’t know if most people know that.”

A great start — but not easy.  Catching people at home — and getting them to talk — is a challenge.  Plus, the committee has virtually no budget.  They squeezed $250 out of the Conservation Commission, to pay for lunch and gas for 3 student volunteers to administer the survey.

The task force also plans water purity tests, as another baseline measure.

Public relations people often say, “I don’t care what you say; just spell my name right.”

Sounds good to me.  This one is spelled just the way it sounds:  S-e-p-t-i-c.

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