How the "flush it and forget it" approach could cost you big $$$.

There are some 16-thousand septic systems just in Greene County. Some people take the flush it and forget it approach to their septic system. But, as KY3's Paul Adler reports, if you don't do basic maintenance you could wind up with a big bill.

Brent Stock of the James River Basin Partnership says, "It can be a pretty gnarly situation if you're not maintaining them..."

The job of pumping out a septic system is not the prettiest and there's definitely a smell. But, keep reading, we'll explain how this is keeping the water cleaner for all of us.

First, let’s go back to the beginning in your bathroom. When you flush into a septic system, the waste winds up in a tank outside your house.

Texas Watershed Announcer explains in a video, "The heavier solids... settle to the bottom forming sludge...."

In a perfect world, that sludge is cleaned out before it reaches the top of the tank and goes into the drain pipe that eventually leads to a leach field in your yard. If the sludge does build up too much, you’re putting untreated *ick into your yard and the environment.

Paul Adler says, "Here's why this is so important... It''s because of the way the land is basically built around here. You have a thin layer of soil and underneath that (demonstrates in the video) you have rocks like this. So, the water or any liquid runs right through those rocks and into our aquifer; our drinking water."

If that's not enough to convince you, there’s a price to pay for ignoring basic maintenance.

Homeowner Candy Barnes says, "If you don't get it cleaned up, eventually it gets into the lateral lines and that's thousands in repairs..."

You should have the system pumped out every 2-3 years for a family of 4. And, there’s a great deal out there. A 50 dollar rebate for people in the James River and the White River Watersheds.

Candy Barnes comments, "It's a nice thing to get.. It's just free money and it helps with getting your septic tank pumped as well..."

Cary Cooper with Ozarks Pumping Service tells Candy, "Everything's very normal..."

And with a septic system, normal means your’re keeping the Ozarks clean.

Cary Cooper says, "Thank you very much..."

100 people took advantage of the rebate last year and there's room for more this year. You should look at the program rules before scheduling your appointment. Check the links on the right side of this page on your desktop computer.

In Taney County, you may be able to get 100 percent of the cost of the maintenance covered. We've also put the link to that information in the links section of this page.