Home Sewer System Inspections

In 2017, BVD’s Water Quality Department partnered with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) for on-site wastewater treatment unit inspections, education and outreach with the goal of improving the water quality in the Vermilion River.

The educational on-site wastewater treatment unit inspections took place in the Coulee Mine watershed which included parts of Scott, Carencro, Lafayette, and unincorporated areas. These inspections began in July 2017 and have continued since into 2022. BVD Inspectors go door to door to educate homeowners and check the electrical connection to the aerator motor, the sludge levels in the tank, and the condition of the tank discharge to determine whether a system was passing or failing according to local and state standards.  The homeowner is then notified of passed or failed inspection and what needs to be repaired if the system is not working properly.

2021 By The Numbers:

On-site systems inspected at homes and businesses.

Passed Initial Inspections

Failed Initial Inspection

At the Conclusion of the Program:

Systems Passed

Systems were still failing

Systems were brought into compliance

  • By the end of 2021, 81% of all tested systems were passing.
  • Overall, 41% of addresses had failing systems at the beginning of the program, and only 26% of those addresses were still failing at the end of the program.
  • According to the LDEQ’s water sampling monitoring program in the Vermilion River and tributaries within the Coulee Mine watershed, noticeable improvements were made in reducing fecal coliform (CF) levels in the water, thereby improving the water quality.


This project was funded, in part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For more information, please contact Bayou Vermilion District’s Department of Water Quality at (337) 233-4077ext. 216

The Future:

BVD is currently working with LDEQ to continue the educational inspection program for the foreseeable future. Because of the efforts and support by the EPA, LDEQ, BVD and caring home and business owners, the Vermilion River may one day be open for primary contact recreation (that is, swimming) again.


  • 1 Guest Entry to Village Each Visit (Proof of ID required)

How Do Mechanical Sewer (aerobic treatment ) units work?

Mechanical sewer systems (ATU) usually work in 3-4 stages:

Stage 1
Pretreatment: The first stage reduces the amount of solids (oils, grease,toilet paper, etc.) going into the ATU by utilizing a compartment to allow settlement. This is an optional feature, so your system may or may not have this function.

Stage 2
Aeration: The second stage forces oxygen to mix with the wastewater in what is known as “the aeration chamber.” This allows the beneficial bacteria to thrive and breakdown the sewage.

Stage 3
Clarifier: A clarifier is a chamber that separates the solids created in the aeration chamber (stage 2) from the water. The solids fall to the bottom and back into the aeration chamber.

Stage 4
Disposal: The final step includes disinfection and effluent reduction.

What is an aerobic treatment unit?

A home aerobic treatment unit (ATU) is a wastewater treatment machine whose main function is to treat household sewage. It is also referred to as a mechanical treatment plant. With proper design, operation, and maintenance ATU’s can provide a high level of sewage treatment. They come in many shapes and sizes and are extremely important in protecting human health and the environment.

Why do I need to maintain my aerobic treatment unit?

Maintenance is key to the life and performance of ATU’s. Poor maintenance can cause ATU failure, forcing expensive repairs or replacements at the homeowners expense. With proper care of any onsite sewage system, you can expect a long life and good performance.

Keep in mind that you could be putting your family’s health at risk if you are discharging improperly treated wastewater into your yard or ditch. Sewage contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause many illnesses.

How do I properly maintain my aerobic treatment unit?

One of the main design criteria of ATU’s is the level of aeration provided for sewage treatment. Therefore, maintaining the blower is essential to the treatment process.

Another important issue is the sludge that builds up over time. Therefore, the ATU should be pumped periodically to remove the solids that settle to the bottom. The amount of organic matter entering the ATU will determine the pump schedule. A general rule of thumb is to pump it every 3 to 5 years.

With the purchase of any ATU, the first two years of service visits are included. You need to make sure those service visits are performed by your maintenance provider. After that you will have an option to renew the service agreement.

Guidelines to Keep Your Mechanical Home Sewage System Working

Please follow these important helpful tips to ensure your mechanical sewer system functions properly.

DO keep detailed records on your ATU. This includes model name, capacity, date installed, contract service agreements, records of services visits, and maintenance performed.

DO conserve water to avoid overloading the system. Repair leaky faucets and toilets. Use water saving features on appliances.

DO divert other sources of water like roof drains, house footing drains, and sump pumps away from the ATU.

DO become familiar with how your system operates. Know the way it looks, smells, and sounds when operating properly.

DON’T allow anyone to park or drive over any part of your system.

DON’T make or allow unauthorized repairs or changes to your ATU without obtaining a permit from the Parish Health Unit.

DON’T use a garbage disposal without checking with the health department to make sure your ATU can accommodate this additional waste.

DON’T attempt to clean or perform maintenance on any sealed ATU components.

DON’T flush or pour any chemicals into your system.



  • Coffee Grounds
  • Dental Floss
  • Disposable Diapers
  • Kitty Litter
  • Sanitary Napkins
  • Tampons
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Condoms
  • Gauze Bandages
  • Fat, Grease or Oil
  • Paper Towels


  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Thinners
  • Waste Oils
  • Photographic Solutions
  • Pesticides

These items can destroy the biological processes taking place in your sewage treatment system.

For detailed information on parish and state ordinances and codes as it pertains to individual sewage treatment systems, please refer to:

Louisiana Administrative Code

Title 51 Public Health – Sanitary Code Part XIII. Sewage Disposal

Chapter 7

Click here for more info

Lafayette Consolidated Government Unified Development Code

Article 3. Utilities

(d) Sewage (3) f. Regulation of Individual Sewage Treatment Systems

Click here for more info