The Second and most important reason: to maintain your system is to protect the health of your family, your community and the environment. When septic systems fail, inadequately treated household wastewater is released into the environment. Untreated wastewater from failing septic systems can contaminate nearby wells, groundwater, drinking water sources, lakes and streams. Chemicals improperly released through a septic system also can pollute local water sources and can contribute to system failures. For these reasons it is important that home owners educate themselves. When a septic system fails, inadequately treated domestic waste can reach the groundwater. Bacteria, viruses and parasites from human waste can cause disease, including but not limited to dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever. Many serious outbreaks of these diseases have been caused by drinking water contaminated by household sewage due to poorly functioning or failed septic tanks and drain fields. Nutrients in human sewage like nitrate and phosphate can cause excessive algae blooms. These blooms cause aesthetic problems and impair aquatic life. Untreated sewage can contain certain biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. However, the risk of illness depends on the type and the duration of exposure to the sewage. Some biological agents in sewage like bacteria (examples: E. coli, salmonella) may cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, or vomiting. Parasites like giardia may cause diarrhea and stomach cramps. Viruses like Weil's Disease cause an acute feverish disease marked by gastroenteritis, mild jaundice, persistent and severe headache. Hepatitis A causes liver disease. You may feel abdominal pain, nausea, jaundice (yellow skin) or diarrhea. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says sewage workers are not at more risk of Hepatitis A infection than other workers. Hepatitis B causes liver disease. You may have jaundice (yellow skin), abdominal pain, or nausea. The disease has not been linked to exposure to sewage in the U.S. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. There are no known cases of wastewater workers getting HIV from their jobs in the U.S. and the risk is virtually nonexistent for Disease Transmission.