Helpful Septic Hints
Environmental officials and community leaders agree – septic systems and other onsite wastewater treatment systems must be operated and maintained to function correctly. In this way, small onsite systems that serve individual homes are no different than large centralized wastewater facilities serving entire communities. But unlike large community systems, individual home onsite wastewater systems have no operator to monitor them and no staff to keep records or perform regular maintenance. In most communities, it is up to system owners to initiate maintenance.
With over 20 years of experience in septic system maintenance, our trained personnel have the necessary qualifications to operate and maintain your septic system.
Anyone can service your onsite system, but not just anyone is trained to look at the components of your system and advise you on trouble areas.
Most homeowners take the simple act of using water in their home for granted. It is not until the water does not go down the drain or surfaces in the yard, that it is realized that there is a problem. By the time onsite system problems become noticeable, they may already be a threat to public health and the environment.
Regular maintenance and inspections cannot only help avoid backups and extend the life of your system, but also protect the water quality of our drinking water, streams, lakes and ponds.
Septic Care and Maintenance
Neglect of your septic system can cause it to fail. A failed system can:
- Cause a serious health threat to your family, neighbors, and pets.
- Pollute ditches, streams, lakes and ground water.
- Be very expensive and difficult to repair.
Signs of a failing septic system:
- Pooling water or muddy soil around system
- Slow or backed up drains, toilets or sinks
- Sewage odors around property
Common causes of septic system failure are:
- Lack of proper maintenance of the septic tank
- Excessive water into the drain field area
- Overloading or abuse of the system with solids or chemicals
The Do’s of Septic Care
- Learn and record the location of your septic system, including tank and dispersal area.
- Have a maintenance plan/service contract for septic pumping. Keep records of repairs, pumping, inspections, permits issued and other system maintenance activities.
- Check with local regulatory agency or inspector/pumper if you have a garbage disposal unit to make sure that your septic system can handle this additional waste.
- Practice water conservation. Limit the number of high water use activities done consecutively or at the same time. For example, spread out laundry washings over the week and avoid running the dishwasher at the same time. Also, use water sparingly when watering over or near your dispersal system.
- Use alternatives to toxic cleaners and chemicals around your home. Harmful chemicals can kill the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank, causing you to have your tank pumped more often. They can also be carried to your dispersal system and into drinking wells.
- Be aware that human wastes from people on medication can affect the performance of your septic system and may require more frequent pumping of your tank. Leftover medications should be returned to your pharmacy.
- If your system has a splitter (diverter) box, make the adjustment to alternate the usage of your leach lines once yearly.
- Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the drain field.
The Don’ts of Septic Care
- Don’t allow toxic cleaners or chemicals to be flushed into your septic system.
- Don’t allow potential poisons to get into your dispersal system including paint, solvents, antifreeze, fuels, oil, pesticides or herbicides. They upset the beneficial bacteria in your system and can leach into groundwater and cause health or environmental concerns.
- Don’t use granular drain cleaners. Only a small amount can kill all the beneficial bacteria in your system, leading to rapid build-up of solids or dispersal system clogs. We recommend and sell Bio-Force® preventative Septic System Treatment. Bio-Force® has been specifically developed to provide homeowners with an easy, environmentally safe, and effective way to revitalize and treat their home septic system. Please call us for additional information regarding this product manufactured by Century Chemical Corporation.
- Don’t park, drive, pave, or put heavy objects or machinery over your dispersal system. This can compact the soil, crush pipes and keep air from getting into the ground – all of which can lead to system failure.
- Don’t plant trees or shrubs in the dispersal system area. Their roots can damage or plug the dispersal system pipes. Grass is ideal.
- Don’t allow roof drains or surface water runoff from driveways and slopes to discharge into your tank or onto the dispersal system.
- Don’t use your toilet or drains as a trash can. Cooking grease, fats, cigarette butts, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, hair, plastics, rubber, coffee grounds, and cat litter should all be kept out of your septic system.
- Don’t pour hazardous waste down the drain. Take hazardous wastes to a recycling center.
- Don’t attempt repairs or alterations to your septic system yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I have my septic tank cleaned?
It is recommended that your system be serviced every two to three years. If you have a garbage disposal and use it more than sparingly, than your systems should be pumped every one to two years. Older homes with smaller systems may require pumping more frequently.
2. My drains are gurgling, what is wrong?
In most cases you probably have a plugged main line or your septic tank is flooded or overfull. But, in some cases a vent problem could cause gurgling.
3. Why should I bother cleaning my septic tank?
Your tank is full of waste water from the toilet, shower, wash machine, dish washer and all of those things you never want to see again! Some of this matter accumulates at the bottom of the tank or gets stuck floating near the top, lessening the capacity of your septic tank.