Newspaper and Magazine Reviews
The Septic System Owner's Manual

“…a fun, easy-to-read book with fantastic information about maintaining your system. Full of excellent illustrations, the authors tackle this notoriously odiferous issue with verve and simplicity. They lead the reader through the fundamentals of septic systems and explicitly, but gently, reveal their anaerobic innards and workings in layperson's terms. Includes a detailed chart to map your septic system and record routine maintenance.”

Mother Earth News

“Nobody plans for the expense of having a septic tank pumped out repeatedly, only to find that the septic field is clogged and must be replaced at astronomical cost. But the low price (of this book) makes the book a wise investment…”

– Dave DeWitte,
The Cedar Rapids Gazette

“A long-overdue book…the homeowner's answer to problems: a concise, readable book to call on for review or to press into use in an emergency.”

Back Home Magazine

“Any homeowner with a septic tank should get a copy.”

– Al and Kelly Carrell
The Tennessean

“Although there are over 25 million septic systems in the United States, with 400,000 more new ones being built each year, most homeowners — and more than a few builders — know almost nothing about how they actually work. Into this information void comes author Lloyd Kahn, whose The Septic System Owner’s Manual tells you everything you might want to know about the subject, and at least a few things you might prefer not to know. The illustrations by Peter Aschwanden are a treat in themselves. (Readers of a certain age will remember him from John Muir’s classic How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive).”

– John Vara
The Journal of Light Construction

“…a must-read book…This is far from a dull, boring, technical manual. The first clue is the abundance of cartoon-type drawings, many of them very instructive. The writing style is casual and nontechnical. And much of the information is just plain fascinating…

The book…also discusses graywater, composting toilets, alternative systems, and a fascinating brief history of human waste disposal. Many homesteaders will consider this an essential how-to book, but it's so much fun, they might even read it in the bathroom.”

Countyrside & Small Stock Journal

“…we are delighted by this book’s excellent illustrations…and clear explanations. Here’s a straightforward, easy-to-understand book on small-scale residential wastewater disposal.”

Builders Booksource Newsletter


“…one of the few books on septic systems that's aimed at the layperson, who may know he has a concrete box and a leachfield but wouldn't know where to sniff for his biomat…it's all here: system mechanics, the biology, maintenance, do's and don'ts…There's also a section noting the various shared low- and high-tech systems that communities or neighborhoods might consider …Included too: guidelines for setting up a simple graywater system…

What makes the book irresistible are the illustrations. Peter Aschwanden, who illustrated the classic How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, has invented a menagerie of hardhat-wearing moles and clipboard-toting rabbits drawn in the bold, cross-hatchy style of an underground comic. ‘Subterranean Mysteries Revealed’ touts the cover, which sets the book's tone… ”

– Don Schinske
The Point Reyes Light

“…From the first crack-me-up cartoon straight thru to the stats I found it to be the best book on the subject I've ever seen. You (the authors) really know your stuff, and I wish I'd had the book for guidance 40 years ago…”

– Malcom Wells, author
The Earth Sheltered House

“The heart of the book is devoted to the basics—how a septic system works and what you need to do to maintain one; how to sustain a partially failing system; and how to identify a failing system—and the authors explain the facts in a straightforward, easy-to-follow manner. They also treat more complex topics, such as what to do if the traditional gravity-powered approach isn’t suitable to a particular location. Even homeowners whose relationship with their septic tank is limited to calling the plumber will find valuable, cost-saving information here, but the books target audience is the determined do-it-yourselfer willing to tackle a home’s infrastructure. Indispensable information.”

– Leon Wagner