Sep. 16, 2019 SepticSmart Week 2019: Promoting Best Practices for Community Involvement

Decentralized Wastewater Webcast Series

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 - 1:00 - 3:00 PM EDT


SepticSmart Week is an annual outreach campaign focused on educating homeowners and communities on how to properly care for and maintain their septic systems. This webinar will focus on the perspectives of state and county health and environmental departments, highlighting their SepticSmart Week outreach efforts and providing examples of strategies they’ve used to overcome local challenges.

Guest speakers include environmental and wastewater experts from the Ohio Department of Health, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and La Porte County Health Department.

Topics will include highlights and discussion on: EPA’s SepticSmart Week and a walkthrough of available resources, the challenges and successes of working with local jurisdictions, how to navigate differing permit requirements, and a newly enacted local ordinance that mandates the inspection of septic systems at the point of sale, the first in its state.

The intended audiences for this webinar include local, state, and federal government officials such as wastewater professionals, health officials, and regulators, as well as community leaders.

For additional information on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and past recorded webinars, please visit For information on SepticSmart Week 2019, please visit


Rachel Townsend is the Residential Water and Sewage Program Manager in the Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection. She joined the Department in 2014 as a sanitarian in the Private Water Systems Program. Prior to joining the department, she was a field sanitarian at the Clark County Combined Health District in southwest Ohio for four years. Before moving to the public sector, she spent many years providing groundwater and environmental consulting services to citizens’ groups and municipalities.

Ray Gordon is presently the Administrator of the Residual Management Section in the Wastewater Engineering Bureau for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The Residuals Management Section is responsible for the administration of the state of New Hampshire Septic and Sludge rules. Ray works with municipalities, septage haulers, septic designers, wastewater operators, engineering firms, and health inspectors. He provides training, technical support regarding wastewater treatment, septage, grease interceptors, managers of wastewater facilities, and the “What’s Flushable?” Program.

Amanda Lahners is an environmental health and food supervisor at the La Porte County Health Department. Before starting at the La Porte County Health Department as an Environmental Health Specialist in 2004, Amanda worked as an environmental educator for the Lake County Parks Department. Amanda was also a Park Ranger in the National Park Service at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Everglades National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park. She earned her Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) credential in 2011 and BS in Biology from Purdue University. Amanda was awarded the Indiana Environmental Health Association’s Environmental Health Specialist of the Year in 2018.


David Richards, MDB, Inc.

Zach Lowenstein, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wastewater Management