THE DO’S AND DON’T’S OF SEPTIC SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
Here are some helpful tips on properly maintaining your septic system:
- DO pump your septic tank, inspect the pump chamber/siphon and D-Box every two to three years. Keep a record of the inspection. Ask the pump specialist to inspect the tank for proper operation and tightness. Repair any defects. Inquire how much sludge and floating material was in the tank at the time of pumping, and how near it came to over-flowing into the leach field. If the solids build up in the tank is gradual, you may be able to pump less often.
- DO perform annual maintenance on sand filter and other systems to ensure proper operation of the components.
- DO keep the leach field area mowed and free of brush and trees. Roots may disturb the D-Box and pipes, disrupting flows and reducing the treatment of the field.
- DO have the pump specialist check the distribution box for levelness when having the tank pumped. This will ensure even distribution of effluent to the lines. Have the pump and siphon checked to ensure that there is proper dosing of wastewater to the leach field, mound or sand filter.
- DO conserve water and fix plumbing leaks. Less flow means better settling of solids in the septic tank and a longer leach field life span.
- DON’T flush pesticides, chemicals, paint, thinners, acids, disinfectants, oil, grease, diapers, sanitary pads, kitty litter or similar substances down the drain or toilet. Chemicals can kill necessary bacteria in the septic tank. Grease and oil can clog the leach field. Any solids flushed into the system fill up the septic tank requiring frequent pumping.
- DON’T flush anything down drains or the toilet that you would not put on your vegetable garden.
- DON’T drive heavy equipment over sewer lines and the mound or leach field replacement areas. Pipes can be broken and the mound or leach field compacted, resulting in immediate system failure.
- DON’T use a garbage disposal. It adds more solids to the septic tank and grinds waste into fine particles that can carry into the leach field.
- DON’T waste money on septic system additives. Natural bacteria are prevalent in household wastes and need not be supplemented.
Proper Septic System Maintenance
- On-site sewage disposal systems must be regularly inspected, maintained and carefully used in order for them to work properly. If the septic tank and pump chamber or siphon are not checked and pumped every two to three years (or as often as may be necessary), their useful life is shortened and they may fail prematurely.
- The frequency of pumping will need to be increased if more solids are flushed into the septic tank or pump chamber, such as when more people occupy the house.
- For mound, sand filter and other systems, the pumps and siphons must be checked and maintenance done regularly to ensure proper dosing of the mound or leach field. A failed septic system can contaminate wells in the vicinity and cause significant health problems. A failed system can allow raw sewage to surface in your yard or back up into your sinks and toilets. It can also pollute streams and other surface waters.
- It can be difficult and expensive to replace a failed system. Preventative maintenance and proper use will not only save money, but will ensure that your system does not negatively impact your neighbor’s property.
Signs that indicate your septic system may not be working properly:
1) Persistent wet soils near the leach field or mound area
2) Odors near the leach field or in the house
3) Plumbing that drains slowly or backs up
Owner: Charlie Haff ~ Business Phone: 802-748-2571 Mobile Phone: 802-274-5631