Public health nuisances related to septic systems are unfortunately not uncommon. Septic systems often will be the cause of pollution of local waters due to older septic systems, lack of maintenance, and poor designs.
Sewage discharging directly from septic tanks, by-passing any additional treatments are essentially untreated sewage. The trash is being held in the tank, but what is discharged is a dangerous mixture of disease and waste.
Untreated sewage can cause pollution also of ground water and surface water. Many older septic systems were not designed to treat wastewater to any standard. In fact, many septic systems in the region were installed or built before the EPA Environmental Protection Agency ever existed. Luckily there are many regulations now to prevent installation poorly designed septic systems and prevent untreated sewage from discharging to our bodies of water.
Untreated sewage can be identified from strong sulfur or rotten egg smells. In fact, if you are driving down the road and notice a rotten egg smell, chances are there are poorly designed septic systems in the area.