Care and Maintenance of Your Home Septic System

Your septic system is designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, as well as water from plumbing fixtures such as toilets, baths, and sinks. Household cleaners, detergents, and bleach will not damage your system if used in moderation, and it’s important that you never pour oil, cooking grease, paint or medication into your plumbing system. These items can inhibit the bacteria, which are critical to the proper functioning of your system.

Products such as diapers, sanitary napkins, or tampons are harmful to your system. They take up capacity and send solids through the drainfield sooner. Refrain from introducing condoms, plastic baggies, or cigarettes butts into your system as well. A garbage disposal can be used if your septic system was designed for it, however, you should have your tank pumped more frequently.

Overloading Your System

Your system is designed to handle a certain volume of water. If you constantly overload your septic system, you can cause premature failure. A frequent source of overload is leaking plumbing fixtures. This can amount to hundreds of extra gallons of water going into your septic system, which alters the bacteria action. Repair leaks immediately.

Why Pump Your Septic Tank?

When too much solid material accumulates in the tank, it begins to flow out of the tank and into the drainfield with the normal liquid. The solids clog the drainfield and are the most common cause for drainfield failure. The bacteria that thrive in a septic tank are called “anaerobic bacteria” because they do not require oxygen. These bacteria are essential to the proper functioning of a septic system as they degrade and decompose the solids. Overloaded or neglected tanks may require a bacteria additive to balance the system. This is based upon your usage.

If you suspect that your drainfield may be failing, have a reputable and licensed Septic Tank Contractor evaluate your system before having it pumped. Pumping your tank after the drainfield has failed will offer only temporary relief until the tank fills up again. While your drainfield is being repaired, the tank will need to be pumped, so if that is required, you will be throwing away the cost of the first pump out.

Proper Care Of The Drainfield Area

The drainfield is ideally located in a sunny open area for maximum evaporation. Trees and shrubs should not be planted near the drainfield, as root intrusion may impair the drainfield. Any plants that do not have deep roots can be planted over a drainfield. Grasses and groundcover provide the highest level of evapotranspiration (the cycle of plants taking moisture from the soil by their root systems and giving it off to the atmosphere using the sun’s energy) without the complication of root systems clogging drain pipes and gravel beds. Mulch holds moisture and decreases drainfield efficiency.

Proper Care Of Your Home Septic System

Walkways, patios, parking areas, decks, or other permanent structures should not be constructed over either the septic tank or the drainfield area.

Vehicles should not be driven over the tank or drainfield area on a regular basis, and heavy trucks and equipment should never be allowed to drive over the tank nor drainfield area.

Rainwater and other drainage water should be diverted away from the drainfield area. The drainfield’s size was designed for the amount of water coming out of the house, adding extra water from poor drainage (such as downspouts from buildings) may cause extra problems.