How do I care for my septic system?

To maintain a healthy septic system, you need to exercise care what is drained into the system as well as perform preventative maintenance procedures, such as:

  • provide periodic pump-outs of the septic tank
  • periodically inspect the system
  • keep all records of septic pump outs and inspections

Any soaps or solids that may be accumulating can be removed allowing the liquids to flow without obstruction.

Maintaining proper bacterial diversity in your septic system will lead to prolonged service prior to pump- outs. The septic tank is not a place to dispose of all household wastes. It is a living system and many wastes can kill it. What is put into the system has a direct effect on whether your system will be a healthy, long lasting and trouble free system.

How long does a septic system last?

Some last for several decades. Most do not.

Keep Trees Away from the Septic System

  • Discourage root damage by keeping trees at least 100 feet away from the septic system.
  • Trees with very aggressive roots, such as willows, should be even farther away from the system.

Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners

  • Overuse of heavy cleaners kills beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, so solids won’t break down as well.

Avoid Hazardous Chemicals

  • Varnish, paint thinners, motor oils, gasoline and other similar chemicals can ruin your system and are a hazard to groundwater. Dispose of them properly

Perform Regular Maintenance

  • Solids must eventually be pumped from the tank. Many experts advise a family of four with a 1,000 gallon septic tank to have the tank pumped after 3-5 years of full time use.
  • Never attempt to open a septic tank yourself. Gases and bacteria in it are dangerous.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 • Septic Tanks

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