In the Sarasota and Manatee region, septic systems are commonly found at coastal and rural areas that have not yet been hooked up to the public sewer system. A septic system is a self-contained, highly efficient underground wastewater treatment system. The function of a septic system is to treat and then disperse the waste water from individual private homes or commercial buildings. Responsibility for regulating the system usually belongs to state or local municipal authorities. These organizations, as well as homeowners, rely on information and assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to better maintain and manage septic systems with the aim of preventing failures that could prove detrimental to water quality and, ultimately, human health.