How to Keep Your Septic System Healthy
- How the Septic System Works.
- Don’t Overload the Septic Tank and Drain field.
- Use an Efficient Toilet.
- Don’t Treat the Toilet as a Garbage Disposal.
- Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain.
- Divert Rain Water From the Septic Drain Field.
- Keep Trees Away from the Septic System.
- Using septic-safe toilet paper is one way to help take care of your septic tank. This toilet paper is specifically designed to break down best for your septic system. You also don’t want to use too much toilet paper if you have a septic system.
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.
Should I add anything to my 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?
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!
How can I increase bacteria in my septic tank naturally?
Homemade Septic Tank Treatment The ingredients required for this natural solution are the following: Water, Sugar, Cornmeal, and Dry Yeast. To concoct this mixture, first start by boiling roughly a half gallon of water. Add in 2 cups of sugar. The sugar will act as the first food your bacteria will eat!
Do I need to add enzymes to my septic tank?
But septic tanks don’t really need help from extra additives. As long as you are only putting wastewater and toilet paper down the pipes, the tank can take care of its job on its own. Putting anything extra in can cause more harm than good and it’s best to stick to the tanks natural ecosystem when possible.
What is the best bacteria to put in septic tank?
Much like your stomach, septic tanks need good bacteria and enzymes to break down the solids that pass through it. These beneficial bacteria and enzymes can come from several sources, but our favorite is actually rotten tomatoes. These naturally occurring enzymes are proteins called Pectinase or Pectinolytic enzymes.
Does yeast help a septic tank?
Yeast helps actively breaks down waste solids when added to your septic system. Flush ½ cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet, the first time. Add ¼ cup of instant yeast every 4 months, after the initial addition.
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.
How do I check my septic tanks sludge level?
To measure the sludge layer:
- Slowly lower the tube into the septic tank until it touches the bottom of the tank.
- As the device is slowly pulled out of the water, the check valve closes capturing a liquid/solid profile of the septic tank water. The thickness of the sludge layer can be measured.
How do you know if your septic system is failing?
The first signs of a failing septic system may include slow draining toilets and sinks, gurgling noises within the plumbing, sewage odors inside, continuing drainage backups, or bacteria in the well water. The area of the strongest odor will point to the location of the failure in the septic system.
What breaks down sewage in a septic tank?
The septic tank has microbes, especially bacteria, which break down and liquefy the organic waste. In phase one, the wastewater is introduced into the septic system where solids settle down to form the sludge and scum layers as the anaerobic bacteria digest the organic waste.
What will ruin a septic system?
Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.
How do you dissolve sludge in a 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.
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.
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. Some of the luxurious, pricey ones that include lotions and additional plys may clog your system or introduce unwelcome substances into it.
Think About What You Dump Down the Kitchen Sink Drain
Aside from toilet paper, the only item that should be flushed down the toilet that does not come out of your body is human waste. Tissues, diapers, feminine products, hair, dental floss, and other personal items are prohibited. In order to break down in the septic tank, toilet paper is intended to do so. Otherwise, they will block your septic system, causing it to overflow and overflow again. Make sure you use toilet paper that is suitable for use with your septic system. It is possible that some of the luxurious, pricey products with lotions and additional plys could clog your system or introduce harmful substances.
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.
Maintain Your Septic System Naturally
On December 5, 2020, the information was updated. However, while this isn’t an enjoyable topic for polite discussion, having your septic system back up into your home is far from pleasant. There are actions that you can do to not only avoid septic issues in the future, but also to guarantee that the process of breaking down flushed waste proceeds as it should.
A Well-Functioning Septic System
The title of this article may be “The Care and Maintenance of the Gut in Your Yard,” which would be more descriptive. Understanding the necessity and advantages of eating dietary fiber, alkaline-forming foods, and taking probiotics for your own gut health will help you recognize the similarities between keeping a healthy septic system and maintaining a healthy digestive system. There are some items that you should avoid putting into any septic system, just as there are certain substances that are favorable to putting into our own digestive systems.
If you wait until there is a problem, you have waited too long and should contact a septic cleaning firm to pump your tank immediately. Slow water drainage, as well as water backing up in the toilet, dishwasher, tub, or sinks, are signs that you may have a septic system problem.
Septic System Care and Maintenance Tips:
- A family of four living in a house with a 1,000-gallon tank should have their septic system cleaned every four years, according to the EPA. Inquire with your local septic cleaning firm about how frequently you should contact them
- Avoid using bleach-containing solutions to clean your toilets since it kills the bacteria that are necessary for the breakdown of waste particles in your septic system. Try this all-natural toilet cleanser
- It works great.
- When you add yeast to your septic system, it helps to aggressively break down waste particles, which is beneficial. Using the first time, flush a 12-cup package of dried baking yeast down the toilet. After the initial addition, add 14 cup of instant yeast every 4 months for the next 4 months. For those who are planning to install or have their existing septic system pumped, it’s a good idea to know precisely where it is in your yard so that you don’t have to dig up a lot of your lawn when the system is pumped in the future. With a tape measure, measure the precise distance between the septic tank lid and the home, and then snap a photo of the exact distance with your mobile phone to prove you were accurate. Maintain a copy of the snapshot in a home maintenance file on your computer for future reference.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living and healthy lifestyle writer who has written seven non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She lives in Hawaii with her family. Since 2004, she has contributed to the Farmers’ Almanac as a writer.
The key to a well functioning septic system! Almost all of us prefer to forget that we have a septic system at all most of the time. When something is out of sight, it is definitely out of mind! When your septic system isn’t functioning properly, it may quickly turn into a real nightmare situation for you. Bad stench, water backing up in your home, and perhaps tainted wastewater ponding on your lawn are all possible consequences. Mr. Michael Deighan, our in-house septic system specialist, explains how to keep your septic system in good operating order so that you never have to deal with these concerns again, in plain English.
- Because our septic system is buried in the ground, we don’t usually think about it, and it’s not an issue until it’s too late, which is often the case.
- It’s difficult to think of everything, but it’s critical to plan regular pumping of your septic system since it will save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your whole life.
- As the solids pile up in your septic system, the solids settling rate decreases, increasing the likelihood of short-circuiting and resulting in lower treatment effectiveness.
- Inspection on a regular basis Confide in your industry specialist and the advice they give you.
- These routine inspections provide you the opportunity to detect an issue before it becomes too late.
3: Maintain complete and accurate records It is critical to keep accurate records on your septic system, which should include the following information: – Septic system pumping records– Septic system maintenance records– Septic system location drawings that have been updated Selling your house, doing septic system maintenance, and completing repairs on your property will be much easier if you keep good records.
- Reduce the amount of water you use.
- It is possible to prevent overburdening your septic system and leachfield by installing high-efficiency equipment such as toilets, high-efficiency shower heads, washer/dryers, and dishwashers in your home.
- Among the things you should avoid taking into your system are the following: -Fats and/or Greasing -Motor oils or fuels are a type of fuel.
- -Coffee grinds, egg shells, and nutshells are all good options.
- Traditional septic systems have a lifespan of between 10 and 25 years, depending on the model.
- The existing septic tank may be used to increase the overall performance of the septic system by installing an aerobic treatment unit.
- ClearPod is a drop-in, fixed-film aerobic treatment system that treats onsite wastewater while leveraging existing infrastructure and equipment.
If you have a flash load of solids due to a high number of people attending your event, an aerobic treatment unit can assist in treating the organic load and reducing the impact on the entire system.
Better-quality wastewater exiting the septic tank implies less stress on the leachfield, allowing the system to recover more quickly.
Installation is straightforward and takes no more than an hour on average.
As a result, these pollutants have the potential to seep into the soil and contaminate the surrounding ecosystem and groundwater supplies.
This might cause damage to infrastructure or compress the soil layer, making it impossible for water to percolate freely through the Soil Layer any more.
Roof drains, sump pumps, and other drainage systems should all be installed at a downward slope from your septic system’s gradient.
Water that is not used up during the wastewater treatment process is called surplus water. Sources: If you would like more information or would like to request information on purchasing and direct shipment, please contact Mike Deighan at +1 902 940 0836 or [email protected]
DIY Septic Tank Treatment
Septic tank systems are notoriously difficult to maintain and may be quite expensive when they fail. Over the course of almost two decades, we’ve only had to pump our septic tank once. Here’s how we maintain our system running smoothly: DIY Septic Tank Treatment
Natural Enzyme Action
Septic tanks, like your stomach, require the presence of beneficial bacteria and enzymes in order to break down the particles that travel through them. It is possible to obtain these helpful bacteria and enzymes from a variety of sources, but one of our favorites is rotting tomatoes. These naturally occurring enzymes are proteins known as Pectinase or Pectinolytic enzymes, and they break down pectin. Lipase, hydrolyzes, and lyase are all members of the pectinase family of enzymes that are capable of breaking down pectin and plant cell walls in the natural environment, therefore aiding in the decomposition and recycling of waste plant materials.
DIY Septic Tank Treatment
It is simple and inexpensive to treat a septic tank with DIY solutions. We “feed” our septic tank 3-4 rotting tomatoes every 3 months or so, which we do through our garbage disposal. The idea is to make sure that you split up the tomato and pass only half a tomato or so at a time through the water while it is running to ensure that it is properly flushed out. As an alternative, if you don’t have access to a garbage disposal, you may throw two or three large rotting tomatoes in a bag (chances are they’re already packed away in a bag in your refrigerator and starting to liquefy anyway!).
Dump them into a toilet (but don’t use bleach!) and flush them away.
Normally, having rotten tomatoes every few months isn’t a big deal because the garden overproduces in the spring, summer, and fall, and there are always a few extras available.
At the very least, they aren’t going to waste completely.
Toilet Paper No-No’s
When we had our septic system pumped for the first time in more than two decades, we were assured that it was totally unnecessary because the system was operating well and looked fantastic. During our conversation, the gentleman shared numerous true horror stories of systems he’d witnessed at his place of employment where the families utilized “fluffy” toilet paper. That one where the cute little bears in the advertisements are pleased of themselves for not having any lint left behind? You know the one I’m talking about.
Image courtesy of Ian Haycoxis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
He especially inquired about the brand of tissue we use, which is Scott Tissue.
It degrades swiftly and does not “glop” into a clog-inducing mass on the lines. Alternatively, if you don’t happen to have any rotting tomatoes on hand, you may use baking or brewing yeast to bring healthy bacteria to your tank as an alternative.
How to Clean Septic Tank Naturally
Yeast and sugar are excellent natural septic tank cleaners, and here’s an easy method for using them.
Septic Tank Cleaner
2 cups granulated sugar 5 cups of hot water (optional) 3 tbsp. active dry yeast Sugar and yeast should be dissolved in water. Pour the mixture into a toilet (that does not contain bleach!) and flush it. This is best done at night so that the yeast may continue to work throughout the night; do not flush for at least 3 hours after completion.
1Avoid flushing raw or cooked meat down the toilet, down the garbage disposal, or any other form of introducing meat into your septic system; meat is NEVER a helpful bacterium. 2. Never add oils, grease, or fat in any form (solid or liquid) to your tank. This includes, but is not limited to, cooking oils, bacon grease, meat grease from draining ground beef/turkey, and other fat-containing foods. 3Avoid flushing anything other than garbage and toilet paper down the toilet; this means that feminine products should be disposed of in the trash, baby diapers and wipes should be disposed of in the trashcan, and so on.
Have you tried the rotten tomato technique yet?
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Follow these guidelines to keep your septic tank system in good working order and save money on repairs.
- Inspections should be performed every one to two years, and cleaning (pump out) should be performed every three to five years or more regularly, depending on the tank size and number of people that use the system. It is never a good idea to flush cat litter, coffee grinds, diapers, towelettes (including the ‘flushable’ variety), cigarette butts, condoms, grease, dental floss, baby wipes, paints, thinners, pesticides, oils, pharmaceuticals, or excessive amounts of household chemicals. Understand where your system is located. You should construct a diagram or map indicating the placement of the tank in relation to permanent objects such as the corners of your home, steps, or fence posts after you have had the tank pumped. Instruct the pumper to assist you in locating the drainfield. Place it in the appropriate area on your diagram, alongside the location of your drinking water source. Keep this sketch with your septic tank records for future reference. To make it easier to discover the tank lid, place something that can be moved easily over it, like as a birdbath or ornamental rock. Maintain the drainfield’s integrity.
- Increase the height of the barrier to prevent vehicles from driving over the drainfield, which might cause the tank lid and pipes to break and compress the soil, reducing oxygen flow. (Bacteria in the drainfield require oxygen to survive.) Downspouts and other surface water – notably irrigation sprinklers – should be diverted away from the drainfield to prevent clogging. It can be harmed by too much water. Keep anything other than grass growing over the drainfield
- Do not dig or build anything over the drainfield.
- Water should be conserved. Minimize your system’s reliance on wastewater treatment and disposal. Examples of ways to do this include:
- One or two loads of clothes should be washed everyday at the most. Each load of laundry can cause up to 53 gallons of water to overflow into your septic system, so it’s better to spread washing out over the course of the week. Make repairs to leaking faucets and toilets
- Over time, they can cause hundreds of additional gallons of water to enter your septic system. When feasible, use low-flow fixtures and appliances to save water. Low-flush toilets consume between 1.1 and 1.6 gallons of water every flush, which can cut your water cost by up to one-third compared to traditional toilets. Sink faucets with low-flow aerators are available. Showerheads with low flow rates and low-flow washing machines will also help you save water.
- Do not dispose of rubbish using a garbage disposal. It can increase the amount of particles in your septic tank by up to 50%, increasing the frequency with which you must pump out your tank. Caustic drain openers should not be used to unclog clogged drains. Instead, use hot water or a drain snake to unclog the drain. Please check to be that your water softener is not hooked to wash back into your septic tank. Conserve your documents, which should include a copy of your septic tank permit. Avoid the use of septic tank additives, commercial septic tank cleaners, yeast, sugar, and other similar substances. There is no need for these goods, and some of them may be dangerous to your health. Commercial bathroom cleansers and laundry detergents should only be used in small amounts. Make use of a light detergent or baking soda to clean your toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs.
Be extra cautious when in the vicinity of open or uncovered septic tanks. Falling into a septic tank can result in death by suffocation or drowning if not treated immediately. Even leaning over a septic tank might lead you to pass out and require medical attention.
Septic Tank Alerts Septic Tank Alerts
Septic System Basics
When a household isn’t connected to a public sewage system, it normally relies on septic systems to treat and dispose of wastewater. Sewage treatment systems require a substantial financial commitment. The correct maintenance and upkeep of a well-designed, installed, and maintained system will provide years of dependable and low-cost service. The failure of a system can become a source of pollution and public health concern, resulting in property damage, ground and surfacewater pollution (such as contamination of well water used by you and your neighbors), and the spread of disease.
Aside from that, if you are planning to sell your property, your septic system has to be in good functioning order.
Septic systems are available in a variety of configurations to accommodate a wide range of soil and site conditions.
Understanding the major components of a typical (gravity-fed) septic system, as well as how to maintain it working properly and at the lowest possible cost, can help you make the best decision possible. A conventional septic tank system is composed of three major components:
- This is known as the Septic Tank. In order to remove particles from wastewater, store and partially decompose as much solid material as possible, while allowing the liquid (or effluent) to flow to the drainfield, a septic tank must be installed. more
- The Drainage System After the particles have settled in the septic tank, the liquid wastewater (also known as effluent) is released to the drainfield, which is also known as an absorption or leach field, or both. more
- The Soil is a very important factor. The soil under the drainfield is responsible for the ultimate treatment and disposal of the septic tank effluent once it has been treated. Following the passage of wastewater into the soil, organisms in the soil remediate the effluent before it percolates downward and outward, eventually entering ground or surface water sources. A drainfield’s efficacy is also affected by the kind of soil
- For example, clay soils may be too tight to allow much wastewater to run through, while gravelly soil may be too coarse to give much treatment.
- Septic System Inspection Done at Home In order to aid you in examining your system, a VideoField Guide and Checklist may be available at the bottom of the homepage.
Homeowners and residents have a significant impact on the functioning of their septic systems. Overloading the system with more water than it is capable of handling might result in system failure. A septic system can also be damaged by the improper disposal of chemicals or excess organic waste, such as that produced by a trash disposal. The following maintenance suggestions might assist you in ensuring that your system provides long-term, effective treatment of domestic waste.
Inspect and Pump Frequently
The most critical step in keeping your septic tank in good working order is to eliminate sludge and scum build-up before it may flow into the drainfield. The frequency with which your tank has to be pumped is determined by the size of the tank, the number of people in your family, the quantity of water utilized, and the amount of solids (from humans, garbage disposal, and any other waste) that enter the tank’s drainage system. Tanks should be pumped out on average every 3 to 5 years, depending on usage.
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
- Inspecting Your Septic Tank
- Septic Inspection and Pumping Guide
Use Water Efficiently
System failure is frequently caused by an excessive amount of water. The soil beneath the septic system must be able to absorb all of the water that is used in the residence. Too much water from the washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, bathtubs, and showers may not provide enough time for sludge and scum to separate properly in the drain. The less water that is consumed, the less water that enters the septic system, reducing the likelihood of system failure. For further information on water conservation, visit:
- Indoor Water Conservation
- Every gallon of water conserved equates to a savings of $1.00.
Minimize Solid Waste Disposal
What you flush down the toilet can have a significant influence on the performance of your septic system. Many things do not breakdown properly, and as a result, they accumulate in your septic tank. If you have the option of disposing of it in another manner, do so rather than introducing it into your system.
Keep Chemicals Out of Your System
Protect your septic system against home chemicals such as caustic drain openers, paint and pesticides. Also avoid flushing down the toilet with chemicals such as brake fluid, gasoline, and motor oil. The improper dumping of dangerous substances down the drain is damaging to the environment, as well as the bacteria that are necessary for the breakdown of wastes in a septic system, and should be avoided.
Septic System Additives
It is not essential to add a stimulant or an enhancer to a septic tank in order to assist it in functioning or “to restore bacterial equilibrium.” The naturally occurring bacteria required for the proper operation of the septic system are already present in human excrement. Septic systems, like automobiles, are designed to offer long-term, effective treatment of residential waste if they are properly run and maintained on a regular basis. The majority of systems that fail prematurely, on the other hand, are the result of poor maintenance.
If you see any of the indicators listed below, or if you have reason to believe your septic system is experiencing issues, call a trained septic technician immediately. In the event that your septic system fails, call Thurston County Environmental Health at 360-867-2673 for assistance.
- Odors, surface sewage, moist areas, or a dense growth of plants in the drainfield region are all possible problems. Backups from the plumbing or septic tank (which are often a dark liquid with a foul odor)
- Fixtures that take a long time to drain
- The plumbing system is making gurgling sounds. Your drainfield may be failing if you have a well and tests reveal the presence of coliform (bacteria) or nitrates in the water from it. Even in the midst of a drought, the drainfield is covered with lush green grass.
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
Your septic tank is one of the last things you want to have to think about when you’re trying to relax. Many people are intimidated and perplexed when it comes to understanding how to properly break down solid waste in a septic tank. For those who live in homes equipped with sewage systems, however, there are several things you should be aware of in order to avoid worse difficulties down the road.
How Do I Know If I Have a Septic Tank?
This information would have been provided to you as part of the inspection process when you purchased your house. If it’s been a while and you’re not sure where you reside, take a look around your surroundings. Homes in rural regions are frequently equipped with a septic system and septic tank. You can also do the following:
- Take a glance around your yard and see if there are any strange peaks in the horizon
- Find out if any of your neighbors have one and where it is positioned in their yard by speaking with them. Consider looking at your water bill
- If you don’t have one from the county, you’re very certainly on a septic system. If you want a copy of your property records, you should contact your local government.
In this blog post, you will learn more about how to determine if you have a septic tank.
How Do I Take Care of My Septic System?
Following your discovery of the presence of a septic tank and its location, you’re undoubtedly asking how to properly maintain the tank. The naturally present bacteria in your septic tank are responsible for dissolving and consuming the solid waste in your tank. This is the type of beneficial bacteria that you require to keep your septic tank system operating correctly. Once this happens, the liquid in your tank flows into your drain field through small holes in the pipes. An examination of your septic tank will be one of the first things you’ll want to conduct after you’ve moved in.
- You’ll also want to make certain that you’re utilizing goods that are safe for your system to utilize.
- This toilet paper has been specially engineered to break down quickly and efficiently in your septic system.
- You should avoid flushing any inorganic items down the toilet, regardless of how little they are.
- Things like diapers, feminine hygiene items, and excessive toilet paper can cause a septic backlog if they are flushed down the toilet.
It is effective at destroying bacteria on your hands, but if you flush too much of it down the toilet, it can kill the beneficial bacteria in your septic system. Septic systems rely on a healthy population of bacteria to break down the solid waste that is introduced into the tank.
How Do I Break Down the Solids in My Septic Tank?
In order to properly size a septic tank, you must first determine its capacity. It is important to know the size of your tank in order to ensure that you are utilizing the proper quantity of septic tank treatment for your septic tanks. It is possible to damage the healthy bacterial environment that is necessary for your septic system to work efficiently when you use dangerous chemicals for septic tank treatment in bigger septic tanks. Additionally, employing a treatment that is intended for smaller septic tanks will not produce the results you are looking for.
- The majority of septic tank treatments are recommended to be performed once a month.
- Please keep in mind that we are not discussing drain cleaners here, but rather treatments.
- When it comes to keeping the amount of solids in your septic tank stable, the bacteria that live in your septic tanks are critical.
- It can also cause problems with your pipes, drain field, scum layer, and the entire septic system if not handled properly.
- Some things you may do to assist in the breakdown of solid waste in your septic tank are as follows:
Using your toilet bowl as a vessel, add 14 to 12 cup of active dry yeast and flush it down the toilet. It is important for your pipe yeast to have time to sit in order for it to function properly, so avoid doing things like running your dishwasher or having a shower that will wash the yeast down too soon. Yeast is beneficial in septic systems since it helps to keep the bacteria and enzymes happy.
It may sound a little unusual, but they contain proteins called pectinase that help them digest food. These substances degrade pectin and the cell walls of plants. Cut your rotten tomatoes into little bits and put them down your garbage disposal. This will aid in the breakdown of solid waste and the recycling of waste plant materials, both of which are beneficial to your septic system. Make careful to run some water down the drain as well to avoid clogging your pipes with debris. Your bacteria will be satisfied with only three to four rotting tomatoes a few times a year if you do this regularly.
This used to be a typical tip for helping to break down the particles in your septic tank, but it is no longer recommended. It takes some time to ensure that the solution is suitably diluted before using it. This isn’t something you see recommended very frequently anymore because it may be quite detrimental to the soil and cause problems with your drain field.
While they are quite effective at clearing obstructions, they can be detrimental to your septic tank’s health.
The bacteria in your tank can be killed by them, resulting in raw sewage leaks and a far more serious issue down the road. It is also possible that these strong chemicals will cause damage to the pipes and walls of your sewage system.
If you want to aid in the breakdown of solid waste in your septic tank, you can purchase chemicals to add to your tank. Make sure you follow the instructions on the label to avoid causing any harm to your septic system.
One approach to ensure that the particles in your septic tank are being removed is to have a professional come pump your septic tank. Pumping your septic tank can be a time-consuming task that should be done as part of your overall septic tank maintenance plan. Prepare for the possibility of having your septic tank pumped. During the process of extracting the garbage and sludge, there is an unpleasant odor. In order to maintain your septic tank operating effectively, periodic pumping can be an excellent component of your septic tank treatment strategy.
What Happens When My Septic Tank is Full?
Due to the inability to view your septic tank, you may be wondering how you will be able to tell when your septic tank is full. It’s not one of those things that you can just put behind you and forget about. Plan to have your septic tank cleaned out every three to five years, as recommended by the EPA. This reduces the likelihood of a sewage backlog occurring. The Environmental Protection Agency has also issued a similar rule in this regard. It’s critical to cooperate with certified specialists to ensure that your septic tank, drainage field, or septic system is not damaged in the process.
As disgusting as it may sound, this is a standard technique of keeping your septic system in good working order.
In addition, our staff will come out to empty your septic tank.
We can also plan your septic tank pumping in the Atlanta region to ensure that your septic system is operating correctly at all times.
Caring for Your Septic System
If your system consists solely of a septic tank and drainfield, which is referred to as a gravity system, you must examine it at least once every three years, if not more frequently. All other sorts of systems are expected to be examined at least once a year, if not more frequently than that. It’s possible that your local health department has more strict inspection requirements. A septic specialist can perform the examination for you, or if your local health department permits it, you can perform the inspection on your own.
Keeping the solids, also known as sludge, from piling up and getting close to the outflow baffles of the system is critical because particles can stop the pipe leading to the drainfield or, even worse, completely choke the drainfield. The following are some options for examining your system:
- A maintenance service provider
- Learning how to perform your own examination
- And other options. Inquiring with your local health agency to see if they can examine your system for a lesser fee
Pump Your Tank
When it’s time to pump out your septic tank, do so. Don’t wait until you have an issue before seeking help. Septic tanks should be pumped out every three to five years in a normal residence, according to industry standards. Pumping on a regular basis will help you avoid costly failures such as a clogged drainfield or sewage backing up into your house. Use of the garbage disposal will increase the quantity of solids entering the septic tank, increasing the frequency with which it must be pumped.
- The number of people in the household. In general, the greater the number of people living in the house, the more frequently you must pump
- The total amount of wastewater produced. Putting a lot of water down the drain (from inefficient or leaky toilets, washers, showerheads, and sink faucets, for example) causes the tank to be unable to settle entirely, and you may have to pump more frequently. The amount of solids present in wastewater. When garbage disposal and food waste flow down the drain, as well as RV and boat waste put into your system, solids will quickly fill your tank. The size of a septic tank. The larger the tank, the more the capacity it has to handle sediments and water, which may allow for longer periods of time between pumping sessions. Older septic tanks may not be the proper size for your property, especially if your home has been modified and is now significantly larger than before.
Learn how to hire a septic pumper by reading this article.
Use Water Efficiently
Water conservation should be practiced. The greater the amount of wastewater produced, the greater the amount of wastewater that must be treated and disposed of by the soil. By minimizing and balancing your water use, you may extend the life of your drainfield, reduce the likelihood of system failure, and eliminate the need for costly repairs. To lower your water consumption, do the following:
- Invest in efficient water-saving equipment such as faucet aerators, high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, dishwashers, and washing machines
- And Fix dripping faucets and dripping plumbing fixtures. It is possible to lose hundreds of gallons each day due to a leaky toilet. Shower for shorter periods of time
- Bathe in a tub that is only partly filled
- Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes. If your washing machine offers load settings, make sure you choose the appropriate size for the load you’re washing. It is not necessary to use the large-load cycle if you are only washing one or two loads of clothing.
Learn more about water conservation and water recycling by visiting this website.
Toilets Aren’t Trash Cans
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. Apart from human feces and urine, toilet paper, and soap used for washing, there shouldn’t be much else flushed down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or any other wet towelettes are OK. Tampons and pads, as well as condoms, are examples of feminine hygiene items. Paper towels, rags, or newspaper are all acceptable options. Floss for the teeth
- Cotton balls and cotton swabs are also acceptable. Diapers, hair, and cigarette butts are all things that come to mind. Band-aids
- Grease and cooking oils
- Coffee grounds
- Cat litter
- Chemicals found in the home, such as fuel, oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint. For local hazardous trash drop-off locations, call the Ecology hotline at 1-800-RECYCLE. Prescription medications are available. Check to see if there is a medicine disposal program in your region.
Take Care at the Drain
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. Whatever the sink (kitchen, bathtub, or utility sink), remember to keep your hands clean.
- 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 into the toilet. Allow it to cool and harden before throwing it away in the garbage
- 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. Septic tanks can become overflowing with food waste from trash disposals, which can clog the drainfield.
It is not required to use septic tank additives found in stores to maintain your septic tank operating correctly, and they do not lessen or remove the need for regular pumping.
Maintain the Area Around Your System
- Water runoff should be kept away from your system. Drainage systems should be installed to move water away from septic tanks and drainfields. The soil above your system should be somewhat mounding to aid in the discharge of surface water. If heavy rains cause water to pool around your septic system, avoid flushing it down the toilet
- This will prevent damage to your system. Stay away from your septic tank, drainfield, and drainfield replacement area. Heavy equipment and livestock should not be allowed on your property. The pressure can compress the earth and cause damage to the pipelines and other infrastructure. Before you plant a garden, landscape your yard, build a structure, or install a pool, be sure you know where your septic system is and where it will be replaced. Make sure your system is appropriately landscaped. Grass is the most effective cover. Placement of concrete or plastic over your septic system is not recommended. It is best to plant trees and plants away from your septic tank and drainfield in order to prevent root intrusion into your drainage system. Depending on your needs, an aseptic service specialist might suggest landscaping choices for surrounding your septic system
Keep meticulous records on the operation of your septic system. Understand the location of the system and have a schematic of its layout on hand. Your local health agency may be able to provide you with information on its size and location. It is also a good idea to keep track of the maintenance performed on the system. These records will be useful if there are any problems with your home, and they will also be beneficial to the next owner of your property.
Don’t Ignore Problems
Minor septic system faults can quickly escalate into major, expensive concerns. When compared to the expense of repairing or replacing a malfunctioning system, which can run into the thousands of dollars, addressing minor faults and paying maintenance costs of a few hundred dollars every few years is a bargain. Don’t ignore the warning signals of a failing septic system.
- Septic System 101 Video
- Do-It-Yourself Septic System Inspection Video
- Septic System 101 Video
- Septic System 101 Video Using the Services of a Septic System Professional
- Safety of the Septic Tank Lid
- Symptoms of a Failing Septic System
4 WAYS TO ENSURE YOUR SEPTIC TANK CLEANING GOES SMOOTHLY
Whatever your experience level with septic systems, whether you’ve recently moved into a home with a septic system or you’ve been doing it for years, you’ll still need to have your septic tank cleaned out on a regular basis. It’s possible that you’re not aware of it, but what you do in between tank cleanings has a significant impact on how well the cleaning goes. It is true that you have an impact on your septic tank cleaning beyond simply following basic septic tank maintenance guidelines, such as conserving water and not dumping cotton swabs down the toilet.
Some of your household systems and equipment, such as your air conditioning unit, require yearly maintenance, which means that you can arrange a maintenance visit at the same time every year to ensure that everything is running well.
In addition, a neglected tank might overflow and produce a variety of problems.
Alternatively, you may request a reminder from the firm two or three years after your previous pumping.
It may be incredibly beneficial to know what sort of system you have, how large it is, and when and where it was built in order to make informed decisions.
If you can locate your septic system’s own specific as-built diagram, which displays the position of the tank, you can save a significant amount of time searching for it.
Identifying and anticipating problems before they may manifest themselves and cause issues such as clogs and leaks can help to make your septic visit go much more easily (and save yourself a lot of money on repairs).
Also, don’t wait until the midst of winter to request a pumping, especially if you live in a cold climate; digging out a tank access point while the ground is fully frozen is considerably more difficult (and often impossible).
Another approach to save the technician’s time is to locate the tank’s access point (or access points, if the tank has more than one, as some tanks have) and dig it up yourself before the technician arrives.
Of course, if your tank is equipped with a riser, you will be able to reach it without having to dig or expose anything at all, so you will not have to worry about this.
Essentially, a riser is similar in appearance to a (most likely green) manhole cover in your garden.
These four suggestions will help you guarantee that your septic tank cleaning goes off without a hitch as smoothly as possible.
Upstate Septic Tank, LLC may also provide you with professional maintenance recommendations. Please do not hesitate to contact us whenever you want assistance with septic tank maintenance and cleaning.