An Overview & Hazard Analysis of Septic Systems on Hilton Head Island, SC

Dr. Stephen Borgianini of the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Department of Natural Science in November 2015 authored a white paper entitled “An Overview & Hazard Analysis of Septic Systems on Hilton Head Island, SC.” The paper focuses on the use of septic systems for the on-site treatment of household wastewater on Hilton Head Island. It provides a hazard analysis of septic system use based on soil classifications found on the island. It discusses how some soil types on Hilton Head inhibit the filtration of the wastewater in the septic system, while other soil types do not retain the wastewater long enough to provide adequate filtration.

The paper makes three, key statements:

  • Hilton Head Island has soil types and groundwater levels that make the use of septic systems ineffective.
  • Septic systems in this environment either never function as intended, or fail quickly.
  • The constant flow of water systems above and below the surface makes septic system failures and the resulting public health and environmental hazards difficult to pinpoint.

The paper concludes that septic system use should be avoided on Hilton Head Island and that connection to the sanitary sewer system provides a safe alternative.

The paper is being provided to the Town Council of Hilton Head Island for use in its Five-Year Sewer Plan. It also is being provided to the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry for its use in a Project SAFE (Sewer Access for Everyone) capital campaign tied to the Town’s Five-Year Sewer Plan. The PSD also is providing the paper to other interested stakeholders. Click on link below to view:

Overview & Hazard Analysis of Septic Systems on Hilton Head Island, SC

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