The Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) is a steward of the lake with many programs designed to protect water quality and promote safety. One SMLA goal is to provide information to those who live and recreate at SML, making them aware of what they can do to help keep the beautiful waters of Smith Mountain Lake pristine.

Think about it. There are many ways SML can be contaminated by human waste alone. If you own or rent property along the shoreline, your septic system may be affecting the lake. If you use a “head” (boat toilet) or camp along the lake, it is extremely important that the sewage be managed in the proper manner. Fortunately, official campgrounds have their own sewage systems and should be managing those systems responsibly. If camping along the shoreline, waste should be carried out. Also, 18 SML marinas have vessel pump-out stations. 

And did you know that SMLA, in partnership with the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC), and the Virginia Department of Health conducts an annual vessel pump-out program? This is a wonderful service that is provided during the summer recreation season at no cost to boat owners. The program assists boaters with waste systems to keep their systems empty without sacrificing the purity of the lake waters.

It is illegal to dump treated or untreated waste into SML. SML is designated as a public water supply, which must meet state water quality standards. Besides, who wants to risk their and their family’s health swimming in lake water that is polluted with human waste.

There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at to view the full article in the print and/or e-edition version.

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