Never pour oil-based paints, solvents, or large volumes of toxic cleaners down the drain. Even latex paint waste should be minimized. Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal. This will significantly reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic tank and ultimately clog its drainfield.Never pour oil-based paints, solvents, or large volumes of toxic cleaners down the drain. Even latex paint waste should be minimized. Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal. This will significantly reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic tank and ultimately clog its
Septic drain field – Wikipedia
What cleaning products are safe for septic tanks?
- Cleaning Products Safe for Septic Systems. Vinegar is a very effective cleaner for most household surfaces. It can be used to remove stains from tile or porcelain, eliminate hard water stains from shower doors and is an excellent choice for cleaning a smelly dishwasher or washing machine. It is the best choice for cleaning a toilet bowl.
How do I keep my septic tank healthy?
Do’s and Don’ts when maintaining your septic system
- Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system.
- Pump your septic tank as needed.
- Keep your septic tank lids closed and secured.
- Be water-wise.
- Direct water from land and roof drains away from the drainfield.
- Landscape with love.
- Keep septic tank lids easily accessible.
What is the best thing to put in your septic tank?
Biological Additives. Biological additives, like bacteria and extracellular enzymes, are the only acceptable septic tank treatment for promoting a healthy, natural bacterial ecosystem, maintaining an effective drain field, and protecting the health of the local groundwater.
Can I clean my septic tank myself?
Can You Clean a Septic Tank Yourself? Technically, you can clean a septic tank yourself. If done incorrectly, you can damage your tank, improperly dispose of waste, or fail to remove all of the waste from the tank. You should hire a professional to clean your septic tank for many reasons.
Should you add anything to your septic tank?
You don’t need to add more, feed them or support them at all. If you add more bacteria without more waste, the bacteria will only eat each other. The bacteria are anaerobic, so they don’t even need air. All your tank needs to stay in shape is regular inspection and pumping to remove the solid sludge layer.
What are the signs that your septic tank is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
What are the do’s and don’ts of a septic tank?
DON’T flush material that will not easily decompose, such as hair, diapers, cigarette butts, matches, or feminine hygiene products. DO conserve water to avoid overloading the system. They kill the bacteria needed to decompose wastes in the septic tank and drain field. DO use substitutes for household hazardous waste.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
Is beer good for septic tanks?
Do not flush meat, buttermilk, yeast, vegetables, beer etc. down your drain to “Feed” your septic system. This will kill the good bacteria in your septic system.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
What to do after septic is pumped?
After you have had your septic tank pumped by a trusted septic company, there are some things you can and should do as the septic system owner.
- 1) Get on a Schedule.
- 2) Take Care of the System.
- 3) Know the Parts of Your System.
- 4) Check Other Possible Issues.
How often do you pump your septic tank?
Inspect and Pump Frequently The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
How do I remove sludge from my septic tank?
How to Reduce Sludge in a Septic Tank Without Pumping
- Install an aeration system with diffused air in your septic tank.
- Break up any compacted sludge.
- Add a bio-activator or microbe blend.
- Maintain the aeration system.
- Add additional Microbes as required.
How long do septic tanks last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
Can you use Drano if you have a septic tank?
Will Drano® products harm my septic system? No, all Drano® products are septic safe drain cleaners and will not upset the bacterial action in septic systems. Use Drano® Max Build-Up Remover on a monthly basis to replenish the bacteria in the septic system that help break down toilet paper and organic matter in pipes.
How do you start bacteria in a septic tank?
Flush a packet of brewer’s dry yeast down one toilet on the bottom floor of your house once a month. The yeast will help add “good” bacteria to your septic tank and break down waste.
How to Care for Your Septic System
Septic system maintenance is neither difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be done frequently. The maintenance of a vehicle is comprised of four major components:
- Inspect and pump your drainfield on a regular basis
- Conserve water
- Dispose of waste properly
- And keep your drainfield in good condition.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
Inspection of the ordinary residential septic system should be performed by a septic service specialist at least once every three years. Household septic tanks are normally pumped every three to five years, depending on how often they are used. Alternative systems that use electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently, typically once a year, to ensure that they are in proper working order. Because alternative systems contain mechanical components, it is essential to have a service contract.
- The size of the household
- The total amount of wastewater produced
- The amount of solids present in wastewater
- The size of the septic tank
Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.
When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.
In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.
An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.
Use Water Efficiently
In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.
- Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
- Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.
Properly Dispose of Waste
Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs. What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.
Toilets aren’t trash cans!
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system.
A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Cooking grease or oil
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Photographic solutions
- Feminine hygiene items Condoms
- Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners
Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.
Think at the sink!
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whether you’re at the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or the utility sink, remember the following:
- If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
- Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Fats, grease, and particles will be considerably reduced in your septic tank, reducing the likelihood of your drainfield being clogged.
Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?
If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.
- The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
Maintain Your Drainfield
It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed. Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:
- Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.
7 Tips to Take Care of Your Septic System
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Maintaining a home’s septic system may seem like a daunting and stinky task, but it’s really not. Being mindful of what you’re doing inside the home will keep the system healthy.
Preventing and treating problems with your septic system is not difficult and does not have to be expensive. Failure to maintain your septic system, on the other hand, might result in significant financial loss, since digging up and rebuilding a septic system can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
What Is a Septic System?
Because it handles all of the wastewater that comes from your home, including the water from the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room, if your home is not connected to a municipal water and sewer system, your septic system is essential. Septic systems are generally comprised of a tank, into which wastewater is channeled for treatment and the particles are separated from the liquid. Microorganisms break down the organic stuff in wastewater, allowing it to be recycled. A perforated pipe system transports wastewater from there to a drain or leach field, which collects the effluent.
Get Familiar With Your Septic System
Understanding how your septic tank works, what sort of system it is, and where it is placed are all important first steps in proper maintenance. The county or town should keep a record of the permit, as well as a chart showing the tank’s layout and placement, because state rules demand a permit for septic system installation. Visual clues, such as sewage covers, or the direction in which the sewer pipe, which is located in the basement, runs out of the home, may be able to assist you in your search.
Have It Pumped Routinely
Every three to five years, the ordinary residential septic system should be pumped (that is, the sediments should be removed). According on the size of the tank, the typical price of pumping a residential septic tank is between $300 and $600. When you contact a septic service company, they will also inspect your septic tank for leaks and evaluate the sludge layers in your tank for any problems.
Remember to save a copy of any maintenance paperwork pertaining to work performed on your septic tank. They will come in helpful if there are any difficulties with the house or if you decide to sell it.
Spread Your Washing Machine/Dishwasher Usage Throughout the Week
You may believe that scheduling a “laundry day,” during which you wash all of your clothing and possibly even run your dishwasher, would save you time. However, it puts a great deal of strain on your septic system. If you don’t allow your septic system enough time to process the wastewater, you risk overloading the system and flooding your drainfield with wastewater. Replace this with doing a full load of laundry (to ensure that you are not wasting water) a couple of times a week.
Don’t Treat Your Toilet Like a Trash Can
The only item that should be flushed down the toilet that does not come out of your body is toilet paper. Everything else should be discarded. This implies that there will be no tissues, diapers, feminine items, hair, dental floss, or anything else. Toilet paper is supposed to decompose in the septic tank after it has been used. Any additional materials are not permitted; they will clog and cause harm to your septic tank. Make sure you use toilet paper that is safe for use with your septic system.
Think About What You Dump Down the Kitchen Sink Drain
We flush a variety of items down the kitchen sink that might cause serious damage to a septic system. Never flush objects down the sink drain, including coffee grounds, eggshells, medicine, produce stickers, flour, and other such items. All of these things can clog pipes and cause screens to get obstructed. Do not dispose of any oil, including cooking oils and paint, grease, and fat since these substances will block your sewer line and cause it to back up into your home. Even dairy products such as milk, cream, and butter are harmful if they are flushed down the toilet.
When you use a garbage disposal in conjunction with a septic tank, the ground-up food particles contribute to the layer of solids that accumulates at the bottom of the tank’s bottom.
Be Careful With Cleaning Chemicals
Cleaning agents that homeowners use can be harmful to the beneficial microorganisms in their septic systems. When washing textiles, avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach. If you absolutely must, use only a little quantity of the product. Use of drain cleaners is discouraged since, in addition to destroying beneficial bacteria, they can cause harm to the tank itself. Alternatively, if a plunger does not work, a toilet drain snake, which is also effective on clogged kitchen and bathroom sinks, may be used.
Quaternary ammonia is also present in antibacterial soaps and disinfectants, which should be avoided.
Protect Your Drainfield
As previously said, proper management of your drainfield begins with careful monitoring of water consumption and the materials that enter your septic system. Never drive or park a vehicle on top of your drainage system.
Make certain that gutters and sump pumps discharge water far enough away from the drainfield to prevent flooding. Avoid growing trees and bushes in close proximity to the drainfield since the roots of these plants might interfere with the pipes.
Caring for Your Septic System
It is important not to flush any sort of wipe down the toilet, regardless of whether the box specifically states that they are “flushable.” These objects have the potential to block your home’s plumbing, as well as the pipes in the street and the important machinery at the wastewater treatment facility. The water in which personal care wipes, dental floss, paper towels, and tissues are flushed does not dissolve them rapidly – or at all – therefore they are not safe to flush down the toilet. Personal care items, cleaning supplies, and other home garbage should be disposed of appropriately, either in the trash, the recycling bin, or at your local domestic hazardous waste disposal facility.
- The term “septic system” refers to an individual wastewater treatment system (conventional septic systems, innovative/alternative (I/A) systems, or cesspools) that uses the soil to treat tiny wastewater flows, which are typically generated by a single residence.
- Septic systems are available in a variety of configurations today.
- In a normal septic system, there are three main components: the septic tank, a distribution box, and a drainfield, which are all connected by pipes known as conveyance lines.
- Primary treatment is the term used to describe this separation procedure.
- Flowing from the tank into a distribution box, which distributes the wastewater uniformly into a network of drainfield trenches, is how partially treated effluent is removed from the environment.
- Once in the subsurface soil, this effluent is further cleaned and filtered before being released back into the environment (secondary treatment).
Additional Resources for What is a Septic System?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, a properly maintained septic system should be pumped out at least once every three years! Regular maintenance is the most crucial factor in ensuring that your septic system is in good working order. Pumping on a regular basis helps to keep particles from leaking into the drainfield and blocking the soil pores. While the frequency of pumping depends on the amount of consumption, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection advises that systems be pumped at least once every three years for households without a trash disposal.
- The frequency with which you pump should be determined by the amount of water that has accumulated and the amount of water that has been pumped in the past.
- It is astounding how many system owners assume that if they have not experienced any difficulties with their systems, they do not need to pump out their tanks.
- Solid materials sink to the bottom of the tank when your system is utilized, resulting in the formation of a sludge layer.
- In most cases, correctly engineered tanks have adequate room to safely store sludge for up to three to five years at a time.
- As the amount of sludge in the system rises, more solid wastes are allowed to escape into the soil absorption system (SAS).
When hiring a pumper, be certain that they are licensed by the local Board of Health, and always insist on receiving a paid receipt from the pumper that clearly outlines the terms of the transaction and the amount you paid (how many gallons were pumped out of the tank, the date, the charges, and any other pertinent results).
Keep a copy of this receipt as proof of purchase. In addition, a copy of this report is forwarded to the local Board of Health by the pumper.
Additional Resources for How often should I pump out my septic system?
- Once every 3 to 5 years, have the system examined and pumped out. If the tank becomes overburdened with sediments, the wastewater will not have enough time to settle before it overflows down the drain. After that, the extra solids will be carried to the leach field, where they will block the drain pipes and the soil. Always know where your septic system and drain field are in relation to your house and keep a detailed record of all inspections, pumpings, repairs, contract or engineering work for future reference. Keep a sketch of it on hand for when you go to the service center. The drain field should be planted above the septic system with grass or small plants (not trees or bushes) to help keep the system in place. Controlling runoff through imaginative landscaping may be an effective method of reducing water consumption. Install water-saving devices in faucets, showerheads, and toilets to limit the amount of water that drains into the septic system and into the environment. Replace any dripping faucets or leaking toilets, and only use washing machines and dishwashers when they are completely full. Avoid taking long showers. Roof drains as well as surface water from roads and slopes should be diverted away from the septic system. Maintain a safe distance between the system and sump pumps and home footing drains as well. Take any remaining hazardous substances to a hazardous waste collection station that has been approved by the local government. Use bleach, disinfectants, drain and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in line with the directions on the product labels. Only utilize septic system additives that have been approved for use in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). In Massachusetts, it has been found that the additives approved for use have no detrimental effect on the particular system or its components, or on the environment in general.
- Non-biodegradables (cigarette butts, diapers, feminine items, and so on) and grease should not be disposed of down the toilet or sink. The use of non-biodegradable materials can clog the pipes, and grease can thicken and block the pipes as well. Cooking oils, fats, and grease should be stored in a container and disposed of in the garbage
- Paint thinner, polyurethane, antifreeze, insecticides, certain dyes, disinfectants, water softeners, and other harsh chemicals should all be added to the system to ensure that it works properly. Septic tank malfunctions can be caused by the death of the biological component of your septic system and the contamination of groundwater. Typical home cleaners, drain cleaners, and detergents, for example, will be diluted in the tank and should not do any damage to the system
- And Make use of a garbage grinder or disposal that drains into the septic tank to eliminate waste. If you do have one in your home, you should use it only in extremely limited circumstances. The addition of food wastes or other solids lowers the capacity of your system and increases the frequency with which you must pump your septic tank. If you utilize a grinder, you will have to pump the system more frequently. Trees should be planted within 30 feet of your system, and vehicles should not be parked or driven over any section of the system Tree roots may block your pipes, and heavy cars may cause your drainfield to collapse
- However, you can prevent this from happening. You should not allow anybody to work on your system or pump it without first ensuring that they are licensed system specialists
- Wash an excessive number of loads of clothing in your washing machine. Doing load after load deprives your septic tank of the time it needs to properly process wastes and causes the entire system to become overwhelmed with surplus wastewater. As a result, you might be overflowing your drain field without giving yourself enough time to recover from the inundation. To calculate the gallon capacity and the number of loads per day that may be safely pumped into the system, you should speak with a tank specialist. Cleaning the plumbing or septic system using chemical solvents is recommended. Microorganisms that devour toxic wastes will be killed by “miracle” chemicals that have been developed. These items have the potential to pollute groundwater as well.
Key Actions for Septic System Do’s and Don’ts
Septic systems that have been properly maintained can assist in preventing the spread of disease and other illnesses. System failures can have serious consequences.
- Your failure to maintain your water system could pose a serious health hazard to your family and neighbors, degrade the environment, particularly lakes, streams and groundwater, reduce the value of your property while also being extremely expensive to repair
- And put thousands of water supply users at risk if you live in a public water supply watershed and fail to maintain your system.
Keep an eye out for the following warning signals of a malfunctioning system:
- Surface sewage over the drainfield (particularly after storms)
- Sewage backups in the home
- Lush, green vegetation over the drainfield sewage smells
- Toilets or drains that are difficult to empty
If your system fails, the first thing you should do is call your local board of health, which must authorize all modifications and the majority of repairs before they can be carried out or installed. The board of health will inform you of the steps that must be taken. In the event that your system fails, call your local Board of Health immediately!
Key Actions for Failing Septic Systems Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
This system, buried deep below in your yard, is the most underappreciated and underrated asset a homeowner can own. It works tirelessly for you and your family on a daily basis, yet most people don’t give it a second thought, let alone acknowledge or appreciate everything that it accomplishes. What exactly is it? Your sewage treatment system. Normally, your septic system is relegated to the back of your mind’s attention. Is it really necessary to think about your septic system when you have so many other important things on your mind?
- Your septic system is essential for maintaining a healthy and safe home since sewage treatment is required.
- The good news is that septic system maintenance is quite simple and inexpensive, and it costs far less money than having your septic system fixed or replaced.
- Please read on for more information.
- Both must be kept in good working condition in order for your septic system to function correctly and thrive.
Inspections and Pumping
You should have your septic system tested by a septic service specialist, such as those at Myers, at least once every three years! For both commercial and residential properties, our professionals are qualified and educated to conduct comprehensive and honest septic tank inspections. Examination of all pipelines, measurement of scum and sludge levels, and evaluation of drainfield quality are all part of a comprehensive inspection of the septic tank. In the case of an alternative system with electrical float switches, pumps, or other mechanical components, your septic system should be examined at least once a year.
- a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank restricts the exiting of waste materials from the tank and the subsequent movement of waste materials to the drainfield.
- It’s also necessary to pump your tank out if the sludge layer reaches the top of the tank’s outlet within 12 inches of the outlet opening.
- You will receive a service report following the completion of the inspection and pumping.
- Notate everything that was done, as well as the sludge and scum levels that were discovered by the service expert, as well as the overall condition of your septic system.
- Early detection and repair of your septic system will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Myers’s service technicians will assess the condition of your septic system and provide recommendations for any necessary repairs or replacements. We are a full-service septic system supplier, so if you have any septic system requirements, we can meet those needs as well!
Use Water Efficiently
Water efficiency is not only important for the environment, but it is also important for your septic system and your budget as well. The septic system receives and treats all of the water that a residence delivers through its pipes. Dishwashing, showering, toileting, and washing are all included in this category. As reported by the Environmental Protection Agency, “the average indoor water use in a typical single-family home is over 70 gallons per person, per day.” The greater the amount of water that enters the septic system, the faster the septic tank fills up with waste.
- Saving water and conserving energy are two of the most straightforward and cost-effective strategies to help protect and extend the life of your septic tank.
- A leaky faucet or a constantly running toilet is not only inconvenient, but it may also waste up to 200 gallons of water every day.
- Not only are you squandering perfectly excellent water, but you are also filling up your septic tank more quickly, putting additional strain on your system.
- For example, you may replace your old toilet with a more energy-efficient one.
- Changing your toilet to a more efficient toilet is a simple approach to ensure that the integrity of your septic system is maintained.
- Washers with the ENERGY STAR certification have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and they use 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water.
- Make an effort to wash your clothing in the appropriate load size.
- If you are unable to select a load size, only full loads of laundry should be washed.
- Washing all of your laundry in one day is not recommended.
- Some homes utilize hot tubs as an additional source of water consumption.
- When you empty the water from a hot tub into your septic system, it might overflow the system and agitate the sediments into the drainfield, leading it to collapse ultimately.
However, rather than dumping all of that water into your septic system, you should direct the cooled water onto the turf or manicured parts of your property in accordance with local regulations.
Properly Dispose of Waste
It doesn’t matter if you flush anything down the toilet, grind it up in the trash disposal, or pour it down the shower drain; everything that goes down the drain ends up in your septic system, and I mean everything. It doesn’t matter what you flush down the toilet; everything from food scraps to grease to cat litter gets up in your septic system. Other than human waste and toilet paper, do not flush anything down the toilet, including but not limited to:
- Cleaning materials such as cooking grease or oil, nonflushable wipes, photographic solutions, feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, diapers, cigarette butts, and coffee grounds Product categories include: cat litter, paper towels, pharmaceuticals and medications, and more. Chemicals often found in the home, such as fuel, oil, insecticides, antifreeze, paint, and paint thinners
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. These organisms are necessary for the proper functioning of the septic system; however, pouring chemicals or other materials down the drain may kill these organisms and cause your septic system to malfunction and fail. Your sludge and scum levels will rise, requiring you to have your septic tank drained on a more frequent basis. Harsh chemicals can also damage the pipes that lead to the septic tank and create leaks.
Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum.
Food waste should be disposed of appropriately rather than through the garbage disposal.
Maintain Your Drain Field
Your drain field is a critical component of your septic system’s overall performance. The septic tank is responsible for separating sludge and scum from treated water. The treated water drains into the drain field, where it eliminates impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank and flushes it down the toilet. The wastewater from your tank is discharged onto your drain field, where it trickles via a series of perforated pipes, past a layer of gravel, and down into the soil until it reaches the groundwater.
- Increased particles in the septic tank might block the pipes in the drain field, preventing water from draining from the system properly.
- Parking on your drain field is prohibited, as is the use of heavy equipment or machinery on your drain field.
- Planting trees away from your drain field will prevent roots from creeping into your septic system and causing damage.
- Drain fields are best covered with grass, which is the most appropriate type of cover.
Inspect and ensure that your roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage devices are diverting rainwater away from the drain field. Excess water can cause the wastewater treatment process to slow down or stop completely, as well as overflow the drain field.
Why It’s Important to Take Care of Your Septic System
There are a variety of reasons why maintaining your septic system is crucial. When a septic system fails, improperly treated waste can seep into the groundwater, contaminating nearby wells, streams, lakes, and ponds, among other things. Family, friends, neighbors, and other members of the community are thus exposed to toxins and the risk of contracting waterborne illnesses such as dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever, which are caused by bacteria and viruses originating from human waste. Waterborne nitrates and phosphates in home wastewater can create excessive algae development in lakes and streams, causing aquatic life to become disrupted and producing aesthetic concerns for your town.
- If your community’s septic system is not properly maintained, it may suffer a loss in tourism revenue.
- In addition, repairing or replacing a septic system is quite expensive.
- You may save thousands of dollars in the long run by investing a little amount of money upfront to have your septic system tested and pumped.
- It is possible that building permits may not be obtained for certain properties, resulting in a decrease in the total value of your property and the surrounding neighborhood.
- Every year, you should get it examined to ensure that it is in proper working order.
- Your septic system should be handled in the same manner as your plumbing system.
- It will save you a significant amount of money while also ensuring the safety of your family and the environment.
- Our service technicians will make certain that your septic system is well-maintained and will endure for many years in the future.
Caring for Your Septic System
You wouldn’t ignore routine maintenance on a high-priced automobile. You should also not neglect the maintenance of your septic system. It is possible to spend as much as $20,000 to replace a broken septic system; thus, you have a strong incentive to keep your system in good working order. Septic systems provide the same functions as municipal treatment facilities, but on a smaller scale, and are thus less expensive.
Instead of employing experts and specialists to ensure that everything runs properly, you, the homeowner, are responsible for it all. As the administrator of your septic system, you are responsible for a number of important responsibilities.
Protect the Parts
Take a look at the records that came with your home to find out where all of the components of your system are placed so that you or your guests don’t accidentally damage them. Never drive across a drainfield or a ditch. Beyond the possibility of a pipe cracking, the weight of a car compacts the soil, making it less absorbent and less able to absorb water. Maintain a safe distance between plants and trees and the septic tank and the drainfield. Their roots can slither into pipes and cause them to become clogged.
With a normal system, you may arrange a pump truck to come out on a regular basis (typically every three to five years). By being cautious about what goes down your drains, you may be able to extend the time between service calls. Consult with your pumper for guidance. If you have a maintenance contract (which may be necessary with some systems), you should allow the technician to inform you when pumping is required for your system. Pumping costs $200 to $400, depending on how quickly the lid can be opened.
When the tank is completely empty, have it examined for leaks and have them repaired as soon as possible.
If they are missing or in poor condition, they should be replaced.
Control What Goes In
Perhaps you’ve heard that some materials are beneficial to septic systems while others are detrimental. Here’s the truth about what’s good and terrible to flush down the toilet and what shouldn’t be. Too much water, from any source, can cause your system to become overloaded. Roof water should be diverted away from the drainfield using gutters. Install water-saving toilets and appliances, or at the very least, repair toilet leaks and stagger laundry loads to conserve water. As a precaution, advise guests to refrain from taking long showers or turning on the faucets at full blast while they are at your home.
- Utilize your trash disposal exclusively to clear up the fine scraps that have accumulated in your drain strainer if you have one.
- In a septic tank, fats decompose and become scum.
- Consider creating a compost bin for food waste as well.
- However, even a small amount of drain cleaning might be harmful.
- In rare instances, the salty output produced by water softeners can cause significant damage to a septic system.
- If your health department does not allow it, contact your local health department.
- Alternatively, a salt-free water softener (costing around $1,000 or more) can be installed.
Instead, use the time to clean the tank. Instead, pump on a regular basis. Others have negative consequences, such as releasing the scum in the tank, which causes it to block the drainfield. Some additives are ineffective, while others have negative impacts.
During the wet season, take a walk through your drainfield. If you smell sewage or notice that grass is growing particularly quickly and lushly in one location, it’s possible that your drainfield is clogged. Inquire with a septic repair firm for assistance. It is recommended that you have a professional examination (costing around $100) performed at least once a year if you have an alternative system with mechanical parts, filter screens, pumps, or other components that can go out of alignment.
If you’re looking for further information, see Should You Repair or Replace Your Septic System?
How to Care for a Septic System
Article in PDF format Article in PDF format Your septic system must be properly maintained in order for your home’s plumbing system to continue to operate at peak performance. Fortunately, it is a rather simple process. By flowing water through your septic tank, you can locate it, check it, and ensure that it is in proper working order. Keep an eye on your sludge and scum levels to make sure they don’t get to dangerous levels. Every few years, you should have your system pumped out by a qualified technician.
- 1 Locate your septic tank by following the path of your sewage pipe. Sewer pipes might be found in the basement or crawlspace of your home. In order to locate your septic system’s general position, follow the route of the sewage line. Take a walk around the neighborhood to find your septic tank, then return to the outside.
- Determine the location of a pipe that you are certain is a drain, such as a pipe that comes from the toilet or a sink, then follow that it until it joins to a bigger pipe. Your sewage pipe is the largest of the two pipes. Having found the position of your septic tank, you should make a map of its location so that you can easily locate it in the future. Septic tanks are typically located at least 15 feet (4.6 meters) away from your home.
2 Remove the dirt that has accumulated on the top of your tank. If your tank is buried underground, you’ll need to dig a hole through the top of it in order to check and get access to the tank. Remove enough dirt from the tank’s top and the manhole with a shovel so that you can see the top of the tank.
- When digging, take care not to damage the septic system by driving the shovel blade into it. Allowing only enough space to check the tank so that it may be buried again after you’re through so that it isn’t visible
Advertisement number three Check the septic tank for cracks or other signs of deterioration. When you open the top of the tank, make sure to glance over the top of it. Check the tank for evidence of deterioration such as rust, dents, fractures, or any other visible symptoms of wear and tear. An assessment and, if necessary, repairs from a septic tank professional will be required for serious damage.
- The presence of significant corrosion and rust may indicate that it is time to replace your tank.
4 Flush a toilet to ensure that the tank is functioning correctly. 5. By simply flowing water through the connections in your plumbing system, you can determine whether or not your plumbing is functioning properly and reaching the septic tank. Place yourself next to the tank, have someone flush a toilet, and listen for the sound of water moving to the tank from the toilet.
- Water bubbling through the ground or a fracture in the system indicate that your tank needs to be repaired by a septic tank professional.
To ensure that the water is reaching the tank properly if you do not have another person to flush a toilet while you are standing near the tank, turn on a faucet and then go outside to the tank. Advertisement
- 1 Remove 6 inches (15 cm) of PVC pipe from a 10 ft (3.0 m) length. In order to test the quantity of scum in your septic system, you will need to construct a measuring stick out of PVC pipe first. Remove a tiny part of the bigger pipe with a saw or a pipe cutter to make it more manageable.
- It is quite inexpensive and can be obtained at home improvement stores and on the internet
- PVC pipe If required, use sandpaper to smooth the edges of the pipe that has been cut
- The pipe should be cut equally in order to generate a straight edge that can be inserted into an elbow joint.
With an elbow junction, attach the smaller segment to the larger pipe with hot glue.
Insert the smaller part into a PVC elbow joint once it has been cut to size. On seal the pipe and joint together, apply adhesive to both surfaces. After that, put the bigger pipe into the connection and use glue to secure the two pieces together.
- It is possible to obtain elbow joints that will suit your PVC pipes at your local hardware or home improvement store. Superglue should be used, and there should be enough to form a tight seal.
3 Plastic caps should be placed on both ends of the pipe. Using plastic caps that are meant to fit over PVC pipes, seal both ends of the “L” shaped pipe to prevent leakage. They should be able to snap securely into place in order to form a seal.
- Plastic caps for PVC pipes may be found at hardware and home improvement stores, as well as on the internet.
4 Insert the pipe until it comes into touch with the scum in the septic system. In order to determine the depth of the scum in your tank, you must measure two levels. Fill your tank with liquid and insert the short end of the “L” shaped pipe into the manhole until the short end makes contact with the top of the liquid. Make sure the long side of the pipe is sticking straight up. This is the uppermost layer of the scum layer.
- If you want an exact measurement, you should let the pipe float on the surface of the water.
Tip: Place the pipe against the opening of the manhole to ensure that it does not move during digging. 5 Mark the pipe at the top of the manhole with a marker to indicate its location. To take your initial measurement, mark the pipe so that it is level with the top of the manhole, which will serve as a reference point. The pipe should be floating on the surface of the scum layer when it is properly installed.
- Take care to ensure that the line you draw is straight and even. In order to make it more visible against the white PVC tubing, use a black marker.
6 Then push the pipe through the scum and label it once again. After you’ve taken your measurements of the scum on the top layer, push the pipe down into the scum until it meets the bottom of the dense layer of scum and reaches the wastewater layer, then repeat the process. After that, mark the pipe so that it is parallel to the top of the manhole.
- Continue to hold the pipe stationary while pressing it against the bottom of the tank to ensure that it does not move after the marking is done. This layer will have significantly less resistance and will indicate that the bottom of the scum layer has been reached.
7 The scum depth may be determined by measuring the distance between the markings. Remove the pipe from the septic tank and place it somewhere safe. To determine the distance between the two markings, use a ruler or tape measure to measure the distance. In your tank, this represents the depth of the scum. Unless the scum layer is within 6 inches (15 cm) of the bottom of the outflow baffle (or the pipe visible through the entrance of the manhole), your tank will need to be pumped out.
- Keep track of your measurements so you can refer back to them later and share them with a professional sewer-system contractor if required.
- 1 Make use of a 10-foot (3-meter) length of PVC pipe with caps on both ends. A clean PVC pipe may be used to construct a pipe that will be used to measure the amount of sludge present in your tank. Place plastic covers on both ends of the pipe to ensure that it is completely airtight.
- PVC pipes and plastic caps may be purchased at hardware stores and on the internet. Make certain that the plastic tops are properly snapped into place.
2 Tie a white cloth around one end of the pipe to secure it. You’ll need a white cloth or towel to use to measure your sludge level so that you can readily see the stain markings that the sludge will leave behind on the cloth or towel. Tighten the pipe by wrapping a towel over one end and then wrapping tape around the towel to make it tight and secure.
- The tape may be any sort you choose to use, but make sure you use enough to hold the fabric to the pipe.
3 Push the pipe all the way down into the septic tank. 4 If you have recently measured the scum layer, just insert the pipe through the hole in the scum layer to confirm the measurement. Make sure the pipe is all the way to the bottom of the tank and that it is securely fastened in place.
- For an accurate measurement, it is critical that you keep the pipe completely steady.
4Allow the pipe to rest for 3 minutes before using it. Maintain constant pressure on the pipe until the sludge layer resettles and colors the cloth at the end of the pipe. Wait at least 3 minutes to enable the sludge to stain the material in a noticeable way on the cloth. Set a timer to allow you to concentrate solely on keeping the pipe motionless. 5 Remove the pipe and use a measuring tape to record the stain’s measurement.
After 3 minutes, carefully remove the pipe and place it on the ground. The depth of your sludge layer may be determined by using a ruler or tape measure to measure the stain on your towel. It is necessary to pump your tank if the sludge layer has grown to within 12 inches (30 cm) of the exit baffle.
- Record your measurements so that you can keep track of them later on.
- 1 Have your septic system pumped every three years. The normal household’s septic system should be pumped out once every few years to ensure that it is in proper working order at all times. If the quantities of sludge or scum in your tank become excessive, you may need to have your tank pumped sooner.
- When using an alternate method that includes electrical float switches or mechanical components, get your tank examined at least once each year. It is important to have your system cleaned as soon as possible if your sludge or scum levels are too high.
2 Make contact with a septic tank professional to have your tank pumped out. Septic tank pumping should be performed by a professional septic tank specialist who is equipped with the necessary equipment and training to do the job correctly. Look for qualified septic tank specialists in your area by searching online.
- Arrange an appointment for a time when you’ll be available to see them pump your tank to ensure that everything is done correctly
Tip: Before hiring a firm, read internet reviews about them to ensure that you are hiring specialists that are of high caliber and integrity. 3 Provide the professional with any measurements that you’ve taken yourself. You should submit any measurements you took yourself to the septic tank specialist who will use them to determine the level of sludge and scum in your system. They might lend a hand when it comes time to pump the septic system.
- If you want to make sure they’re being honest, you might compare your measurements to theirs as well.
4 Keep detailed records of any work done on your septic system, including cleaning and repairs. Keep records of any professional work done on or pumping your septic system in a safe location at all times. They can be useful in the future if you need to verify the work that has been done or if your septic tank has been damaged.
- Make sure to put your documents in a file cabinet so that you know where they are
- 1 Reduce water use by installing high-efficiency toilets. Up to 30% of your household’s water use might be attributed to toilet flushing. Older toilets use far more water to operate, and this additional water eventually makes its way into your septic system, causing damage and wear. Replace your old toilets with high-efficiency toilets in order to extend the life of your septic tank.
- Hire a licensed plumber to install your toilet to ensure that it is done correctly.
2 Use water-saving showerheads to save water. Showerheads with high water efficiency and flow restrictors will assist you in reducing the quantity of water you use in the shower. The reduction in the volume of water entering the tank will help to keep your septic system in better condition for a longer period of time.
- Showerheads with minimal water consumption are available for free in some areas. Check with your local government or go online to see if there is a program available in your area.
3) On your washing machine, select the appropriate load size for your needs. Water and energy are wasted when many little loads of laundry are washed in your washing machine at the same time. Setting your machine to the optimum load size will help you save money on your water bill. Tip: If your washing machine does not enable you to select the load size, be sure you wash complete loads of clothing every time you wash. 4 Grease should be disposed of in a container in the rubbish. Grease may cause major blockages in your pipes and increase the amount of scum in your septic system.
As an alternative, pour it into a separate container and dispose of it in the garbage.
- Make use of a container that can be closed tightly to prevent grease from leaking out
- If at all possible, substitute vegetable-based soaps with animal-fat-based soaps in your home.
Create a new question
- Question What might cause a septic system to fail? David Balkan is a writer who lives in New York City. A professional plumber and the CEO of Balkan Sewer and Water Main David Balkan is a licensed professional plumber who also serves as the CEO of Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service and the President of Balkan Sewer and Drain Cleaning, among other positions. With over 40 years of experience as an active owner of these businesses, David is well-versed in the challenges that arise with water service lines, sewers, and drain lines. David has served on the Executive Committee of the Sub Surface Plumbers Association of New York for more than 30 years and is now the Chairman of the Master Plumbers Council’s Committee on Plumbing. As a result of his expertise and solution-oriented approach, Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service has grown to become the biggest and most trusted sewer and water main service in New York City, and the recipient of the 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Plumber with over 20 years of experienceCEO of Balkan SewerWater MainExpert Answer Grease will undoubtedly cause damage to your septic system. It will cover both the outside of your pipes and the inside of your septic tank, making it impossible for your tank to effectively drain water into the earth
- Question What kind of soap is safe to use in septic tanks? David Balkan is a writer who lives in New York City. A professional plumber and the CEO of Balkan Sewer and Water Main David Balkan is a licensed professional plumber who also serves as the CEO of Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service and the President of Balkan Sewer and Drain Cleaning, among other positions. With over 40 years of experience as an active owner of these businesses, David is well-versed in the challenges that arise with water service lines, sewers, and drain lines. David has served on the Executive Committee of the Sub Surface Plumbers Association of New York for more than 30 years and is now the Chairman of the Master Plumbers Council’s Committee on Plumbing. As a result of his expertise and solution-oriented approach, Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service has grown to become the biggest and most trusted service provider in New York City, earning the 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award.Professional PlumberCEO of Balkan SewerWater MainExpert Answer The greatest choice for maintaining your septic system in good operating order is to use soap made from vegetables. If at all possible, use vegetable-based soaps over animal-based soaps. Question Is it possible that using vinegar to wash clothing can cause an issue for septic tanks? No, vinegar will not cause damage to your septic tank. Question What is causing the water to stop flowing out of my septic tank? One of three things is wrong: either there isn’t enough water going into the tank to raise the water level high enough for it to exit through the outlet pipe
- There is a crack in the bottom or side of the tank and wastewater is seeping out, preventing the water level from rising
- Or the outlet pipe is completely clogged. The best course of action is to have a qualified plumber evaluate the system and ensure that everything is operating securely. Question What is the best way to clean the toilet bowl when using a septic system? Choose between pre-packaged items from the store that have the septic safe label on them and a natural mixture of bicarbonate powder and vinegar to clean your toilet. Maintain as much of a natural appearance as possible to prevent destroying the beneficial bacteria in the tank
- Question When I get out of the shower, there is an unpleasant septic stench. Is this normal? There is a dip in the drain that should constantly be filled with water in order to form a seal between the shower and your septic tank, preventing gas from leaking back into your home. It is possible that the gas may leak or that the system will not function correctly, allowing the gas to enter the house and cause the stench. Question What is the location of the septic tank lid? Locate the front of the tank – the front of the tank is where the intake from the house enters the tank. Using a probe, locate the front edge of the tank as well as both sides of the tank. When looking at the tank from the front, the lid should be around 12-16″ (boot length) in. Question Was there anything in particular that caused the stink to emanate from the toilet, and how can I get rid of it? Observe the smell surrounding the toilet’s base. If it is originating from that location and a wax ring was used, it is possible that the ring has degraded. Also, make certain that there is enough water in the bowl to prevent the trap from closing. Question A three-bedroom house with a new septic system will cost about how much to install? $6000
- Question What is the best way to remove scum from a septic system? Remove the manhole cover and dispose of it after using a shovel to scoop out the scum (or a brush to scrape it off).
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Things You’ll Need
- A 10 ft (3.0 m) length of PVC pipe
- An elbow junction
- Plastic caps
- A marker
- A ruler or tape measure
- And other supplies.
- A PVC pipe measuring 10 feet (3.0 m)
- A roll of tape
- A white towel or rag
- A ruler or a measuring tape
About This Article
Summary of the Article Extend your laundry across two or more days to give your septic tank time to heal in between loads of laundry to properly care for your septic system. If you have a garbage disposal, use it only when absolutely necessary to avoid clogging the drain fields. Pour 1 liter of sour buttermilk down the toilet every few months to provide beneficial bacteria to the tank and help it to break up waste. It is also recommended that you have your tank pumped by specialists every 2 to 3 years for a family of 4, and every 4 to 5 years for a family of 2, to avoid the accumulation of sludge in the tank.
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