Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission

Septic Pump Out Ordinance

Septic System Maintenance

Septic systems should be pumped out every three to five years. All homeowners need to be aware of the importance of maintaining their septic systems. This is true for all homeowners, but it is particularly crucial information for the Smith Mountain Lake area because failing septic systems degrade the environment, especially lakes, streams and groundwater.

If septic systems are to continue working properly, they need to be maintained. The most essential step is to have the solids that accumulate in the bottom of a septic tank pumped out every three to five years. Doing so will help prolong the life of the system.

Septic systems often fail because they are neglected or abused. A failing septic system can be a health threat to family members, neighbors and visitors. They also reduce property value and are often expensive to repair. Warning signs of a failing system include slow-draining toilets or drains, sewage odors, sewage surfacing over drainfields, or backing up into the house.

Adhering to the following guidelines will help maintain your septic system:

  • Have your septic system tank pumped out and inspected every 3–5 years by a licensed septic contractor.
  • Reduce water usage when possible.
  • Deflect roof drains and surface water from driveways and hillsides away from the septic system.
  • Do not drive or park over any part of the system.
  • Do not dump nondegradables (grease, disposable diapers, etc.) or poisons down your drains.

Additional information is available from the Virginia Department of Health.

Bedford County:

For information regarding Bedford County’s regulation of short-term rentals including septic regulations, please reference the  Bedford County Virginia Zoning Ordinance .

Franklin County:

For information regarding the Franklin County Pump-Out Program and Ordinance, the following link is available through Franklin County: Franklin County Pump Out Program Information Page. Hannah Powell, Pump-Out Program Coordinator, may be reached at 540-483-3027.

For more detailed information on proper handling of waste fats, oil, and grease, click on the following link:  Franklin County Septic Pump-Out-Program .

If you need assistance in locating your septic tank, you may contact the Virginia Department of Health office located in Rocky Mount at 540-484-0292.

It is recommended that you keep records of all pumping, inspections, and other maintenance to your system. Copies of a brochure entitled “Your Septic System: A Reference Guide for Homeowners” is available. If you would like a copy, please call The Franklin County Department of Health at 540-484-0292.


Smith Mountain Lake Dam