What you need to know about maintaining a septic system

Using a septic system can be beneficial, but you need to make sure you know what your septic can and cannot handle. Here are some basic septic maintenance tips, that should help you use your septic system without any problems.

What you need to know about maintaining a septic system

Limit water use

One simple measure that will help a septic system run smoothly is to reduce unnecessary flow into the tank and system.

  • An overloaded septic tank will push solids out before they have a chance to break down completely. Eventually this will clog the septic field and hamper its capacity to diffuse effluent into the atmosphere.
  • Be vigilant about drips and running water. A malfunctioning float valve in a toilet tank, for example, can leak 250 millilitres (one cup) of water a minute, pouring an additional 350 litres (90 gallons) of water each day into the system.
  • Stagger baths and wash loads to avoid overloading the system during any one period of the day.

Avoid harmful additives and chemicals

  • Never use additives that claim to eliminate tank cleaning. Such additives can actually be harmful, liquifying the sludge and clogging the drainage field.
  • Use only plain white toilet tissue. Dyes are harmful to bacteria needed for decomposition. Many scented tissues have been treated in a way that inhibits deterioration; they are generally not good for a septic system. To test whether a brand is okay, place a few sheets in a jar filled about three-quarters full with water, screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. If the paper is shredded, it will be fine for the septic system.
  • Avoid drain cleaners and bleach. These chemicals can kill the waste-eating microbes in the tank. Specifically avoid products containing lye.
  • Don't pour paint thinner, pesticides, photography chemicals, motor oil or other hazardous materials down sink or toilet drains.
  • Use liquid laundry detergent. Liquid detergents are less likely to contain filler that is not good for the septic system. Some powdered detergents have an agent that is used to seal soils.

What to keep out of septic tanks

  • Don't put inorganic or bulky items such as feminine hygiene products or contraceptic devices down the toilet. They can clog the intake openings of the septic tank.
  • Don't use a garbage disposal. Keep garbage such as grease, fat, coffee grounds, paper towels and facial tissues out of the sink or toilet drains.

Keep the soil healthy

Avoid soil compaction. Don't park on or drive over the the septic field. Keep heavy equipment away from it as well.

  • The soil must stay loose so that the effluent can seep out freely.

Your septic system runs best when make it's well taken care of. Follow these tips and make sure you understand the proper way to maintain your septic.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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