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Dirty movies

By Staff | Aug 29, 2010

Brandee Douglas

It might not be the nicest subject you want to be famous for – sewage septic systems.

Yet, four sewage system videos made in Faribault County will soon be used not just locally, but across the state of Minnesota as well.

And, because the four short movies about the functions and maintenance of septic tank systems will soon be uploaded on YouTube, they can be viewed world wide.

YouTube, of course, is the video-sharing website created in February of 2005.

“I just thought it would be an easy way to share the videos,” says Brandee Douglas of the Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office. “This way we just direct people to our website, where there will be a link to the videos on YouTube.”

The videos are just one part of a project funded by a grant from the Clean Water Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

“We applied for this grant as partof our work with upgrading and maintaining subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS),” Douglas says.

The grant is mainly aimed at educating the public.

“We are calling it our ‘Get Pumped’ campaign,” Douglas says. “Our main focus is on the importance of having septic systems pumped every three years.”

The project has included having brochures developed, removable maintenance stickers, calendar stickers, homeowner classes and local advertising.

And, the four YouTube videos.

“We partnered with the University of Minnesota Extension Service and their Onsite Sewage Treatment Program to develop the four videos,” Douglas says. “They hired the videographer crew and will help with making the short films and using them statewide.”

The videos were just recently filmed in Faribault County, and still need to be edited into short clips.

“We are working with Sara Heger, an Extension Specialist with the University, on video production,” Douglas says. “We have a few local people who were filmed for the production, including Michelle Stindtman of our office.”

The four films will deal with these topics:

– Wastewater treatment options;

– Anatomy of a drain field system;

-Tips for homeowners on how to keep septic systems working in top order;

– Mandatory maintenance requirements.

“The tips video includes suggestions for which types of household products are safe to use if you have a septic system,” Douglas says. “When people spend $10,000 or more on a new septic tank system, they want it to keep working for a long time.”

One way to do that is to use non-harmful chemical cleaning agents. Another is to have the tank regularly pumped, Douglas says.

“It is required by the state to have it maintained,” she says. “But, besides the law requiring it, it just make sense to pay $150 now to pump the tank and ensure the system keeps functioning well for many years.”

That means every three years it should be pumped. The stickers being distributed as part of the project are one way a homeowner can keep track of when it was last pumped.

Douglas told the Faribault County Board of Commissioners last Tuesday that of the 1,020 septic tank owners her office recently contacted, over half needed to have their systems pumped.

“That is why we need to keep working to educate the public,” she says. “The YouTube videos is just one more way we can do that.”