As a homeowner, you're responsible for your own septic system maintenance, which is crucial to protecting your investment - your property. Regular septic system maintenance and periodic inspections can go a long way to ensuring that it works as it should.
Effective household wastewater treatment comes from a properly designed and constructed septic system that is well-maintained. Without proper maintenance, a septic system will have a shorter lifespan, costing you thousands of dollars in repairs, and inevitably, replacement. When the system eventually malfunctions, it can contaminate your groundwater, which might well be the source of your drinking water. Your septic system also needs to be in good working order, should you decide to sell the home.
Proper septic system maintenance tasks fall under four broad guidelines:
1. Regular pump and tank inspection
Inspection plays a vital part in septic tank maintenance. During the inspection, you should:
- Locate the system
- Uncover access holes
- Flush toilets
- Look for signs of backups
- Measuring scum and sludge layers
- Identify leaks
- Inspect mechanical components
- Pump the tank (if required)
A septic tank usually has to be pumped by a licensed inspector every 3-5 years. During the inspection, the contractor will measure the scum and sludge layers to determine whether it needs to be pumped.
2. Efficient water usage
The average household uses 70 gallons of water every day. If your toilet leaks, it could use up to 200 gallons a day. If your household uses too much water, less water will enter the septic system. In order for the system to operate properly, you need to effectively use water in the home by installing high efficiency toilets, water aerators and high-efficiency showerheads.
3. Careful disposal
The same rules that apply to your in-home plumbing system, apply to your septic system. It is important to keep unsuitable materials out of your septic system. Never flush cooking oils, coffee grinds, and food scraps down your septic system, as it is not designed as a garbage disposal system.
While manufacturers promote septic system additives, expert plumbers know that there's no magic formula that can cure a failing system. Here at Anta Plumbing, we would recommend that you guard against using commercial septic system additives, as they can, at best, be useless, or at worse, harmful to your septic system.
The best additives for your system, are biological in nature. Yeast, enzymes, and bacteria are biological additives that are safe for your
4. Caring for your drainfield
Roots from shrubs and trees may infiltrate your septic system, and that's one of the things that may cause damage to the system. Other things to look out for include avoiding heavy equipment being operated over the system. Ideally, you should not place anything more than grass over your drainfield.
Educating your children and everyone in the household about what's good (and what's not good!) for your septic system will help ensure that they develop a habit of good septic tank maintenance.
Septic System Maintenance Do's and Don'ts
- DO keep the septic tank cover handy for pumping and inspections.
- DO call the professionals when there's a problem with your system.
- DO keep a septic system record containing data about inspections, permits, repairs and pumping.
- DO NOT allow anyone to perform repairs without the required health department permits.
- DO NOT dig in the drainfield or build over it, and don't cover it with a hard surface.
- DO NOT allow water softener backwash from the home to enter your septic system.
Need help? Get in touch with Anta Plumbing.