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Southwest Environmental Finance Center creates resource for EPA’s SepticSmart Week

September 24, 2021 - by Kim Delker

Septic systems may not be a topic that most homeowners spend much time thinking about, but a functioning system is crucial to both a healthy residence and a healthy environment. That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency annually celebrates SepticSmart Week (this year, from Sept. 20-24) with outreach and educational resources designed to educate homeowners about how to care for and maintain their septic systems.

One of those educational resources, an animation, was created by a University of New Mexico center, the Southwest Environmental Finance Center (SW EFC). Animation is a powerful tool for education, breaking down complex subjects into easy to grasp, fun, and memorable visual segments. The animation, called Septic Systems: How Do They Work?, was created by Clayton Rimbert, a 3D animator and modeler who works with the SW EFC, in collaboration with the New Mexico Environment Department.

The animation provides a clear, easy-to-understand illustration of the components of a homeowner’s septic system and how it handles waste. Septic systems are a prevalent method of waste treatment used by millions of homes in the United States and yet many homeowners are unaware of just how their septic system operates, according to the SW EFC.

The animation is hosted by the Environment-Focused Learning Academy (EFLA), a program of the Southwest Environmental Finance Center started under the UNM Grand Challenges Sustainable Water Resources seed grant.

The Southwest Environmental Finance Center is a part of the Center for Water and the Environment in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering and offers a variety of services that promote self-reliance through innovative training. Among the center’s services are tribal water operator certification, asset management for green and gray infrastructure; GIS mapping; rates studies and financial sustainability; affordability; managerial assistance; process development; resiliency; regulatory research and analysis; and energy management.