Most of us probably don’t spend a lot of time wondering how our septic tank works; we just take it for granted that everything is functioning appropriately.
However, there are a few maintenance measures that everyone should remember. A well maintained septic tank is a lot like taking care of your body and having good health; preventative measures could potentially save you hours of your time and thousands of dollars. Repairs for failing septic systems can be expensive and often require digging up your yard. Following these very simple steps will help to ensure that your septic system functions properly and will allow you to avoid costly repairs.
The first step in septic tank up-keep is having your system pumped on a regular basis. You can greatly reduce the likelihood of a failing system by following through with this type of general maintenance. As a rule of thumb, septic tanks need pumping every five to seven years.
The second tip to help save your septic tank is one that also helps the environment: conserve water! It is important to avoid hydraulic overloading of your septic system. This can be avoided by repairing leaky faucets or running toilets. When landscaping, redirect rain and surface water flow away from your septic system. This will also help to avoid having too much water in your system.
Next, you should avoid disposing of grease or fats using the kitchen sink (or any sink). Although fats are liquid during cooking, they solidify and cause blockage when cooled in the drainage system.
Also, do not flush cigarettes, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products (anything other than waste and toilet paper) down the toilet. These products can cause blockages in the plumbing and the septic tank will fill up quicker than it should.
For those of you who have garbage disposals, we encourage you to use them sparingly. Garbage disposals add unnecessary solids and nutrients to the septic system, again causing the system to become full.
I know it’s easy to grab some drain cleaner when you have a clog, but next time consider using boiling water to open clogs rather than caustic drain cleaners that can cause damage to the septic tank.
When doing yard work or construction, do not drive over the septic tank area or the drain field. Compacting the soil can cause damage to the piping running from the system.
Remember to follow these simple maintenance steps and tips to help extend the life of your septic system. For septic system questions or other environmental issues, please contact your local environmental health office at (336)-679-4244. We look forward to assisting you!