Septic Do's and Don'ts
It's no secret maintaining a Septic system will prolong its life. Below are some Do's and Don'ts.
- Connect laundry and kitchen water to septic tank.
- Have your septic tank pumped out by a licensed operator every 2-3 years (more often if you are using a garbage disposal).
- Have the operator check to be sure there is a tee or baffle on the outlet of the septic tank. The baffle stops the scum from floating into the disposal field.
- Check with the health department if you are having problems. They can assist with operation, maintenance and design questions.
- Learn the location of your septic tank, drain field and well. Keep a sketch of it handy with your maintenance record for service visits. Obtain a copy of your septic permit and map inspection, if possible.
- Divert other sources of water, like roof drains, house footing drains, and sump pumps to lawn areas away from the septic system. Excessive water floods the system, keeping the soil in the drain field saturated and unable to adequately treat the wastewater.
- Take leftover hazardous household chemicals to your approved hazardous waste collection center for disposal. Use bleach disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with product labels.
Limit water entering your tank:
- Use water-saving faucets, showers, and toilets.
- Prevent basement sump pump connection to tank.
- Drain appliances one at a time.
- Spread clothes-washing over the entire week and avoid half-loads.
- Prevent roof, foundation, driveway, basement drainage and water softener discharge from entering the tank or disposal field area.
- Minimize amount of water used for bathing and dish washing.
- Fix all faucet and toilet float valve leaks.
- Check toilets for leaks at least once a year by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank. Without flushing, see if the coloring enters the bowl. This indicates a leak.
- Don't ever go down into a septic tank. Toxic gases are produced by the natural treatment processes in septic tanks and can kill humans in minutes. Extreme care should be taken when inspecting a septic tank, even when just looking in the lid opening.
- Don't allow heavy vehicles to drive over or park on the drain field (leach field).
- Don't plant trees or shrubs on the drain field (leach field). The roots from the plants could damage the system.
- Don't cover the drain field with a hard surface such as concrete, asphalt above ground pools or decks. The area should have only a grass cover.
- Don't repair your septic system without checking with the health department to see if you need a permit.
- Don't overuse a kitchen garbage disposal unit. Heavy use adds large quantities of solids and shortens the time between septic tank pumping.
- Don't use commercial septic tank additives. These products usually do not help and some may hurt your system in the long run.
- Don't use your toilet like a trash can or poison your septic system and the groundwater by pouring harmful chemicals and cleansers down the drain. Harsh chemicals can kill the beneficial bacteria that treat your wastewater.
Do Not Flush Or Wash Down The Drain:
tampons, sanitary napkins, condoms, paper towels, coffee, grinds, cooking grease/oil, dental floss, cigarette butts, kitty litter, disposal diapers, grease/oil
hazardous chemicals, such as:
paints, varnishes, paint thinners, pesticides, waste,
photographic solutions, oils, old gasoline, other chemicals
The above items can overtax or destroy the biological action taking place within your system, or clog your drain field (leach bed).