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 often do you need septic tank maintenance?
- Septic Tanks Should Be Serviced Every 3 to 5 Years. The best way to ensure your septic tank continues to work well is to make sure you stay up-to-date with
- Caring for Septic Tanks.
- Your Septic Tank Isn’t Invincible.
- Your Septic Tank Needs Will Depend on Your Usage.
- Contact Streamline for a Quality Septic Tank Service at a Cost-Effective Price.
What maintenance does a septic tank need?
Septic tanks should be inspected every 1 to 3 years. Whenever you move into a home with a septic tank, the tank should be pumped and inspected. Septic Tank maintenance is important because continued neglect of a tank may result in system failure or the need for replacement of the soil absorption area.
How often should a septic tank be serviced?
As a general rule, you should only need to empty your septic tank once every three to five years. That being said, the actual frequency will vary depending on your usage and how many people are living in your home.
Are septic tanks high maintenance?
A septic system is reasonably maintenance-free. A well-constructed, properly maintained tank could last indefinitely. However, the leach field (the underground area where all of the sewage drainpipes are located) will most likely require some treatment or perhaps replacement after about 15 to 20 years of service.
How many times a year should you clean 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 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 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.
How often does a 1000 gallon septic tank need to be pumped?
For example, a 1,000 gallon septic tank, which is used by two people, should be pumped every 5.9 years. If there are eight people using a 1,000-gallon septic tank, it should be pumped every year.
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.
Can I shower if my septic tank is full?
Only the water would get out into the leach field in a proper system unless you run too much water too fast. The thing to do is to run your shower water outside into it’s own drain area, but it may not be allowed where you are. Used to be called gray water system.
How do you know if 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 signs of septic tank problems?
7 Warning Signs Your Septic System Is Failing
- Gurgling Pipes. They would occur when you run water in the house (e.g. when using the sink or shower) or flush the toilet.
- Bad Odours. It’s never a pleasant experience when this occurs.
- Water At Ground Level.
- Green Grass.
- Slow Drainage.
- Blocked Pipes.
What if my septic tank has never been pumped?
What Are the Consequences of Not Pumping Your Tank? If the tank is not pumped, the solids will build up in the tank and the holding capacity of the tank will be diminished. Eventually, the solids will reach the pipe that feeds into the drain field, causing a clog. Waste water backing up into the house.
Your Guide to Septic Tank Maintenance
Did you know that it might cost anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 to rebuild an average septic tank in the United States? With this in mind, appropriate septic system maintenance is extremely necessary to ensure that your septic system continues to function properly. Routine septic system maintenance can not only save you from having to spend a lot of money on expensive repairs, but it will also help to make your home a healthier and more secure place to live in. Septic system maintenance, on the other hand, isn’t difficult to learn.
As a result, it’s critical to pay close attention to what you’re flushing down the toilet as well as the efficiency of your household equipment.
Septic System Basics
A septic tank and a drainfield are both components of your septic system. Solids and scum that have built in your wastewater are collected in a container that is placed below and is responsible for storing them. More than one in every five houses in the United States, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), “rely on an individual onsite system or a small community cluster system to treat their wastewater.” Rural locations with limited access to public municipal sewers are common among households who rely on septic tank systems for waste disposal.
What is a drainfield?
Once wastewater has been discharged from the septic tank, it is sent to the drainfield. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a drainfield is a “shallow, covered excavation” in the soil that serves as part of a septic system. It is also referred to as a “leachfield” in some circles. It is possible for the drainfield to flood if it becomes swamped by wastewater and/or outside fluids. This has the potential to cause a sewage backlog.
Why is septic system maintenance so important?
Given the high cost of replacing a septic system, regular maintenance is essential to maintaining your septic system (and your money) in good working order. When it comes to caring for and maintaining your septic system, the more proactive you are, the longer your septic system will endure. In order to keep your septic tank in good working order, it is important to avoid the accumulation of sediments as well as any groundwater pollution.
How often should I have my septic system pumped?
If your home is large enough, the overall volume of wastewater created, the number of particles present, and the size of your tank will all influence how frequently your septic system will need to be pumped. As reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while the average septic system is pumped every three years, systems that have “electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be examined more frequently.” In general, we recommend that you get your septic system examined and pumped once a year to ensure that it is operating safely.
In the next section, you will find an easy four-step maintenance schedule that, if properly followed, will prevent solid build-up and ensure that your system will continue to work at optimal performance for many years to come.
4 Steps to Septic System Maintenance
- To avoid the buildup of solids in a septic system, each residence should adhere to a regular septic service plan. Step 1: Responsible Pumping The frequency of service varies from home to household, so be sure to contact your professional for their recommendation on how often your septic system should be pumped. Step 2 – High-Pressure Water Jetting — Regardless of how well a septic system is maintained, sediments and other debris will build up in the drain pipes over time. The presence of these materials causes the lines that link the septic tank to the drainfield to become clogged and ineffective. Because of this, we recommend that you get your system cleaned with high-pressure water jetting every five years to remove and clear any debris that might hinder your system from functioning correctly. The third step is to use a bacteria additive. Septic system owners should use a live organic bacteria additive that breaks down the presence of artificial compounds and solids, such as detergents and soap, that might occasionally enter your septic system. Step 4 – Use a Bacteria Additive Upon entering your septic system, these common home chemicals destroy the naturally occurring bacteria that are necessary for the system to work correctly. Bacteria additives are a low-cost insurance policy that helps to keep your pipes clean, clear, and odor-free, as well as your system operating effectively. 4) Install an Effluent Filter – Your filter, which keeps particles from entering your drainfield, has to be cleaned or changed at least once a year, or more frequently if your system is in need of repair. Some older systems might not have a filter installed in them. Please notify your technician if your septic system does not have a filter.
Septic System Dos
We recommend that you get your septic system inspected by a service specialist once a year to ensure that it is operating effectively. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, residential septic systems should be drained every three to five years. Septic system pumping frequency should be determined by a professional. Pumping a septic system when it is necessary will help to keep it from failing completely.
Do maintain your drainfield
Avoid growing gardens or trees near your drainfield if you want to keep it in good condition. Growing roots and brushing up against your septic system will be prevented in this manner. You should also avoid parking vehicles directly on top of your drainfield.
Do limit the amount of stuff you put down your garbage disposal
The greater the amount of rubbish you put down the garbage disposal, the greater the likelihood that your septic system will be damaged. If you want to prevent clogging your system, avoid flushing cooking oil, coffee grinds, and lipids down the garbage disposal. Instead, place these objects in the garbage to be disposed of.
Do buy high-efficiency appliances
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, proper water use can help your septic system run more efficiently. In other words, the more water you waste (via clogged toilets, excessive use of your washing machine, and so on), the more water will enter your septic system. This has the ability to inflict harm as well as drainfield floods. The most straightforward method of preventing water waste is to use high-efficiency equipment. Look for Energy Starappliances, which utilize half the amount of water that conventional appliances consume.
Do save inspection reportsmaintenance records
When having their septic system repaired, homeowners should make a point of saving any and all maintenance records and inspection reports. A full report on prospective or actual leaks, as well as scum levels and potential damage, should be included in inspections of this nature. If there has been damage recorded, you should contact an expert repairman as soon as possible to get it repaired.
Septic System Don’ts
Avoid flushing anything down the toilet that isn’t toilet paper in order to avoid causing damage to your system. Other products, such as toilet paper, are not meant to break down and dissolve in septic tanks, unlike toilet paper. The majority of goods that are labeled as “flushable” should not be flushed down the toilet. Items that should not be flushed down the toilet, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, include cooking fat or oil, flushable wipes, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, diapers, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, paper towels, and cat litter, to name a few.
Don’t hire a septic system repairman who isn’t qualified
Do you require the services of a local repairman? Search the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association’s network of service providers to discover a specialist that is knowledgeable and qualified in their field.
Don’t pour chemicals down the drain
It’s important to avoid pouring chemical drain openers, oil, grease, and other harmful substances down the drain whether you’re in the kitchen or the bathroom. This will help to keep your septic system in good working order.
Don’t waste water
Conserving water is the most straightforward method of keeping a septic system operating efficiently.
Some simple ways to save water include purchasing Energy Star appliances, replacing leaking faucets, and repairing toilets that are running.
Don’t put rainwater drainage systems near your drainfield
Your first aim should be to keep any objects off of and away from the drainfield area. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, surplus precipitation from a drainage system, such as a roof drain, might cause extra water to pool near your drainfield. As a result, the treatment process in your septic system will be significantly slowed.
Household Features That Affect Your Septic System
It is surprising how many people are unaware that the use of common appliances can have a detrimental impact on the condition of their septic system. Hot tubs, trash disposals, washing machines, toilets, and showerheads are all examples of household fixtures that might reduce the effectiveness of your septic system if they are used frequently.
- A hot tub owner should be aware that removing the water from their hot tub all at once might cause harm to their septic system. As stated by Pipeline, “hot tub water should instead be cooled and then drained onto grass or landscaped sections of your property well away from the septic tank, drainfield, or residence in compliance with local rules.” The use of a trash disposal is not recommended for homes with freestanding septic systems since they might cause damage to the system. The elimination of the usage of a trash disposal will significantly reduce the amount of particles and scum that accumulates in your septic tank. In the event that you do use a trash disposal, you will almost certainly need to pump your septic system more frequently than people who do not utilize this house amenity. machine to wash clothes (washing machine) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average single-family house uses roughly 70 gallons per person every day. That is a significant amount of water. Unfortunately, the greater the amount of water consumed by your household, the more overburdened your septic system will be. It raises the likelihood of failure of a septic system when it is overburdened. Those who have a septic system should restrict the quantity of laundry they wash in a single day in order to avoid this from happening. They should also use Energy Starwashing machines, which use 45 percent less water than ordinary washers
- And a toilet – Do you hear your toilet flushing? If so, you should call your plumber. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a toilet that is always running or leaking can waste up to 200 gallons of water every day. Yikes. Your power bill will rise as a result, and the amount of water in your septic system will increase as well. It is simple to prevent this from happening by replacing outdated toilets with high-efficiency toilets. Changing your showerhead — It may be time to replace your old showerhead with a modern, higher-efficiency one. These showerheads aid in reducing the quantity of water that seeps into your septic system by restricting the flow of water.
Other Septic Tank Maintenance Tips
A hot tub owner should be aware that removing the water from their hot tub in one go might cause harm to their septic system. According to Pipeline, “hot tub water should instead be cooled and then drained onto grass or landscaped portions of your property that are well away from your septic tank, drainfield, and residence in compliance with local rules.” The use of a trash disposal is not recommended for homes with isolated septic systems since they might clog the system. Use of a trash disposal is discouraged, since it will reduce the amount of solid waste and scum that builds up in your septic tank.
- washes in the washing machine A single-family house consumes about 70 gallons of water per person per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Unfortunately, the greater the amount of water consumed by your household, the more overburdened your septic system will be with waste.
- Those who have a septic system should restrict the quantity of laundry they wash in a single day in order to avoid this from occurring.
- An overflowing or leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Yikes.
- It is simple to prevent this from occurring by replacing outdated toilets with high-efficiency toilets.
- They assist in reducing the quantity of water that seeps into your septic system because they restrict the flow of water.
How do I know if my septic system is failing?
Is the odor coming from your septic system bothersome? According to Allstate Insurance Company, this might be a warning that something is wrong with the system. Septic systems that are congested with particles are more prone to failing than those that are not. Maintenance performed on a yearly basis might help to avoid this. Another factor that might contribute to septic system failure is the system’s design and placement. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if a septic system is placed near “unsuitable soils, severe slopes, or high ground water tables,” it may become overwhelmed with water from outside sources.
In the event that you find muddy water around your septic system, this might be an indication that the system has gathered an excessive amount of liquid and is backing up into your home.
What do I do if my septic system backs up?
A sewage backup into your home is the last thing you want (or anyone wants, for that matter). The failure to maintain your septic system properly, on the other hand, might result in this. Assuming this occurs, you and your family should avoid coming into touch with the sewage. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sewage that has backed up into your house may include hazardous diseases and nasty bacteria. Call your local health department instead of attempting to clean it up yourself to notify them of the collapse of your septic system.
If you have any possessions that have come into touch with sewage, be sure to clean them off and disinfect them.
8 Essential Tasks to Do Regularly for Septic Tank Maintenance
In the United States, more than 20% of homes do not utilize a municipal wastewater system, instead choosing for an individual septic system or a small community cluster system to treat their waste water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Recognizing that, if you own or operate a septic system, it is critical that you understand how septic systems operate and are familiar with the maintenance chores you can perform to assist extend the life of your system by preventing leaks and clogging.
The two components are connected by a network of pipes that go from a home’s wastewater drainage line through the tank and out to the leach field.
It is critical to stay on top of these vital maintenance duties to ensure that your septic system remains healthy and operating for the longest period of time feasible.
What Is a Leach Field?
Solid waste from wastewater travels into the septic tank, where it is separated from the liquid waste. The liquid waste then runs through an output baffle and into a series of perforated pipes, which enable the liquid to gradually seep into the ground and be naturally filtered by the soil. A leach field, also known as a drainfield, is comprised of a network of perforated pipes as well as the surrounding region where the liquid waste is discharged into the environment.
Pump the Septic Tank Regularly
Solid waste from wastewater flows into the septic tank, where it is separated from the liquid waste. The liquid waste then passes through an outlet baffle and into a series of perforated pipes, which allow the liquid to gradually seep into the ground, where it is naturally filtered by the soil, as shown in Figure 1. In addition to this system of perforated pipes and the surrounding region where the liquid waste is dumped, a leach field (also known as a drainfield) may also be present.
Inspect the System for Leaks
Taking a stroll around the septic system on a regular basis can help you notice any locations where the grass is notably more lush or dense than in other parts of the yard. Plant life benefits greatly from a leaky tank, which also has the additional benefit of emitting strong sewage odours. It will, however, be impossible to detect any leaks in the tank while it is still being utilized in the majority of situations because the tank is buried underground. During the pumping process, it is most efficient to check for leaking septic tanks.
It’s also a good idea to check the baffles at this stage to make sure that they aren’t missing, broken, or otherwise damaged.
What Are Baffles?
Baffles are used to restrict and divert the flow of incoming and exiting wastewater within a septic tank’s internal chamber. They keep scum from blocking the inlet and output pipes by removing it from the system. Damaged or missing baffles in a septic tank increase the likelihood of backups and clogging in the tank.
Clearly Mark off and Maintain the Leach Field
Because the leach field is such a delicate component of your septic system, it must be kept safeguarded at all times. Several perforated pipes run the length of the leach field, and while this area is safe to walk on, the weight of automobiles, trailers, and semi-permanent buildings can cause harm to the subterranean pipes. It’s critical to clearly delineate the leach field and notify any guests that this region of the yard is not designed to hold high loads in order to avoid any harm to the septic system in the future.
Water from the residence should be directed away from the leach field in order to avoid flooding the area, and any trees, bushes, or shrubs should be removed in order to prevent the roots from growing into the pipelines.
Limit Water Usage and Household Waste
Keeping your septic system in good working order is as simple as paying attention to the volume and composition of the materials you flush down the toilet. Because an overabundance of liquid waste might cause the septic system to overflow, it’s a good idea to redirect roof water away from the leach field, install water-saving appliances, spread out laundry and dishwasher loads, and repair any leaks as soon as they occur. In addition, a high volume of solid waste is detrimental, since it causes the sludge in the septic tank to accumulate fast, increasing the frequency with which the system must be pumped.
Keep in mind that a septic system relies on bacteria to break down waste, thus pouring powerful cleaning chemicals down the drain might hurt the bacteria, limiting the performance of the septic system and causing it to fail.
Use a Bacteria Additive
The trash that is generated in the home does not simply sit in the septic tank and gather until it is time to have the tank drained. By weight, it filters the waste, enabling the particles to settle to the bottom of the tank and the liquid waste to be discharged to the leach field, where it can be filtered by the soil. The waste that remains in the tank is progressively broken down by bacteria, which helps to maintain the health and functionality of the septic system. Strong cleaning solutions, antibacterial soaps, and drain cleaners can all harm the bacteria in your system, so in order to protect the naturally occurring bacteria in your septic system, you can introduce new bacteria that break down unnatural substances like detergents and soaps through the use of certain organic additives—just make sure you do your research to ensure that these additives are truly beneficial.
Install an Effluent Filter
It’s a good idea to have an effluent filter installed the next time your septic tank is drained in order to assist extend the life of the leach field and prevent obstructions that might cause floods or septic backups in the future. As a result, particles are kept out of the leach field dispersal system by installing this filter on the outflow of the septic tank and grease trap, which acts as an effective barrier. Once installed, the effluent filter will continue to work for about three to five years before it will require cleaning.
If you have an older septic tank that isn’t compatible with a typical effluent filter, you may retrofit it with an effluent filter that is designed specifically for that tank.
Check the Leach Field for Clogs
Even if you limit the amount of water and solid waste that enters the residence and perform regular inspections and pumping of the septic tank, the leach field might get clogged at some point. In particular, during periods of wet and rainy weather, additional water can overwhelm the system, increasing the quantity of solid waste that travels through and onto the leach field. The melting of a considerable quantity of snow over a period of many days might result in flooding. It is recommended to stroll across the leach field during rainy or wet weather to check for sewage smells or unusually fast and lush growing grass, which could signal that the drain field is plugged.
Keep Accurate Maintenance Records
It is critical to keep accurate records of any system maintenance that is conducted, regardless of the type of maintenance that is performed. It is possible to use this information to help you determine the amount and frequency with which you should add bacteria additions to your system. Any inspection results that are inconsistent with the standard expectations for your system based on past data can also be used to identify potential problems before they become too difficult to manage. One further strong reason to keep clear, concise, and complete maintenance records is to ensure that you have them available for any prospective purchasers if you ever decide to sell your house.
When Is Septic Tank Maintenance Needed?
Solids are retained and take up an increasing amount of space in a fully functioning septic tank. They will have to be deleted at some point. Unless there is a significant accumulation of solids, this indicates that either the household’s consumption is restricted or that an issue exists that is causing solids to flow through the tank. At a point where there is little clear zone remaining, adequate solids separation is no longer possible. As a result, detention time for settling is decreased even more, and sediments wash out of the tank, eventually blocking the soil treatment area or downstream component and resulting in system failure.
- A three- to five-year pumpout interval is recommended by several publications and maintenance plans, among other things.
- Regular inspection of the tank, including measuring of sludge and scum thickness, is the most reliable approach for identifying when it is necessary to pump the tank.
- Another approach to think about it is to tally up the depth of sludge and scum in the tank and divide that total by the fraction of the tank that is being utilized for sludge and scum storage.
- The opening and evaluation of both compartments or tanks in two-compartment tanks or systems with two tanks in sequence is critical for analyzing two-compartment tanks or systems.
- If the system has a recirculation tank, a processing tank, or a pump tank, these tanks should also be checked for the accumulation of sludge and scum formation.
- Clear PVC tubing is used to construct proprietary devices that measure the amount of sludge and scum in the wastewater.
- A high frequency of pumping may prevent the formation of a normal population of helpful bacteria in the system.
Further data suggests that when tanks are pumped every year or even more often, the usual scum and sludge layers do not always develop as they should.
It is possible for tanks that have not been properly constructed, erected, and utilized to float out of the ground when they are being pumped during periods of high groundwater or floods.
In order to properly ballast the tank without causing structural damage, the static load must be sufficient.
Because the tank must be reexcavated and refilled, this may be an expensive endeavor.
When inspecting septic tanks, it is common to find broken tees and baffles in older tanks that require repair.
The replacement of damaged or missing baffles should be done immediately upon discovery of the problem.
Adding an effluent screen to any outlet baffle replacement operation is strongly recommended.
Pumping or servicing a tank requires a visual inspection of the access risers and lids to ensure that there are no leaks or structural damage.
a little about the author Sara Heger, Ph.D., is an engineer, researcher, and lecturer in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center.
She has presented at several local and national training events on topics such as the design, installation, and administration of septic systems, as well as research in the related field.
Send an email to [email protected] if you have any concerns concerning septic system care and operation. Heger will respond as soon as possible.
Septic Tank Maintenance Tips
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 systems operation and maintenance overview
Here’s a quick outline of what you’ll need to do to ensure that your system operates and maintains at peak efficiency and for the longest possible life.
- Tank should be pumped on a regular basis. Check and pump the tank with the help of a professional. Conserve water and distribute its use over a longer period of time
- Solids should be managed. Keep dangerous products out of the house
- Allow the system to operate in its native state
- Compaction of the drainfield should be avoided. Excessive water should not be introduced into the drainfield. The drainfield’s structural integrity must be maintained.
Pump tank regularly
- Scum and sludge can accumulate in the drainfield and be swept away by the current. They will clog the drainfield, causing it to fail and necessitate the repair of the drainfield. The accumulation of scum and sludge in the tank lowers the amount of space available for wastewater storage.
- Many experts advocate pumping a tank every 2-3 years
- However, this is dependent on the amount and quality of wastewater produced. It’s also possible to create your own pumping intervals. Immediately after having your tank pumped, you should have a septic specialist examine it on a yearly basis until the scum and sludge layers have accumulated to a point when pumping is required. This will be your pumping interval until your waste generation rates change (either because someone has left or because a garbage disposal, additional people in the home, or children reaching adolescence has been installed). Depending on how and when your waste generation rates change, you will have to adjust the pumping interval accordingly.
Have a professional inspect and pump the tank
As an informed consumer, you should insist that the expert follow Nebraska state-mandated processes, which include the following:
- Pump the tank out of the manhole with a hand pump. If you pump via the inspection ports, you run the risk of damaging the baffles or tees, and it is difficult to thoroughly empty the tank. After pumping the tank and flushing back materials under pressure to dislodge any residual scum and sludge, pump the tank one more to completely empty it. Check for cracks in the tank and ensure that baffles or tees are properly installed. Ensure that the septage (materials from the tank, including liquids, scum, and sludge) is disposed of in a safe and legal way, often at a municipal wastewater treatment facility.
Conserve water and spread usage over a period of time.
Why? The tank is constantly filled, with the exception of the time immediately following pumping.
- The tank holds one gallon of wastewater, and for every gallon that enters, one gallon of effluent exits, entering the drain field. In order for the solids to separate in the tank, roughly 24 hours of retention time must be provided. It is possible that excessive water usage over a short period of time will prevent settling from taking place. Solids may be flushed out of the tank with the effluent
- This is possible. In a tank, rapid water flow may cause a wave motion to form, scouring the bottom and resurrecting muck, which can then be flushed out of the tank with the effluent.
- Laundry should be spread out throughout the course of the day, with 1-2 loads each day rather than 6 loads in one day. Reduce water use by installing low-flow aerators on shower heads and low-volume flush toilets (which use around 1.5 gallons each flush as opposed to previous models which used 6 to 7 gallons per flush)
- Leaks should be repaired. Take brief showers
- Turn off taps when shaving, brushing teeth, or doing other personal hygiene tasks. Inspect the washing machine to ensure that the load and water level settings (low, medium, and high) are acceptable.
- Solids in wastewater are referred to as scum or sludge. As a result, increased solids in the wastewater result in more frequent pumping owing to the accumulation of scum and sludge.
- If you have a waste disposal, use it only when absolutely necessary. The usage of a garbage disposal on a regular basis creates additional solids. Depending on the circumstances, a tank may need to be pumped up to twice as often as a tank in a family that uses a trash disposal very sometimes or not at all. Instead, use compostable materials. Install an effluent filter on your septic tank with the help of a professional. It filters the effluent as it exits the tank, collecting suspended particulates in the process. The effluent filter is less expensive and less difficult to maintain than a blocked drainfield. Grease and oil should not be flushed down the toilet. It has the potential to block the pipes and cause scum development. Throw away cigarette butts, face tissue, diapers, paper toweling, and feminine items in the garbage together with other solid waste. Install a lint filter in the washing machine to keep the machine clean. Consider the fact that lint is removed from your clothing in the washer in the same way that it is removed from your clothes in the dryer. Lint may accumulate in the septic tank and produce scum or sludge, or it may remain floating in the tank and flow out with the effluent to the drain field. When at all possible, use liquid detergents. Powdered materials include additives that solidify as sludge. Make use of toilet tissue that decomposes quickly. Shaking your toilet paper in a covered jar filled with water will reveal its quality. After less than one minute of shaking, the paper should begin to show symptoms of collapse.
Keep Hazardous Materials Out
- Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), medications, paints, paint thinners, solvents, and excess cleaning products are among the items that septic systems are not designed to handle. Septic systems are also not designed to handle pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), medication, paints, paint thinners, solvents, and excess cleaning products. As a result of slowing down or killing beneficial soil microorganisms, and/or going to the groundwater table and contaminating it, these materials may contribute to system failure.
- Don’t misuse or dispose of surplus materials such as pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), pharmaceuticals, paints, paint thinners, solvents, and cleaning goods down the drain
- Instead, recycle or compost the items. A system is capable of handling standard volumes of home cleaning agents, including antibacterial soaps, without requiring special attention. Use that is excessive may be damaging to the system. Excess quantities should be disposed of at a residential hazardous waste collection facility. It is best not to use automated toilet cleaning dispensers that include bleach. These put a continual antibacterial agent into the tank, which might interfere with the initial treatment process.
Let the system work naturally
- It is normal for good bacteria, which are required for early treatment, to be introduced into the septic tank by toilet usage and other wastewater creation
- Pumping does not eradicate beneficial bacteria from the tank. With the initial flush after pumping, more germs are reintroduced into the system.
- Use of septic starters, additives, or feeders is not recommended. Some are ineffective and, as a result, are a waste of money. It’s possible that others will truly harm your system.
Avoid Drainfield Compaction
- Aerobic bacteria are an essential component of the treatment process that takes place in the soil. Pores in the earth are responsible for retaining air. Compaction will limit the porosity of the soil, and as a result, the amount of air accessible in the soil will decrease.
- It is not permitted to drive or park automobiles or agricultural machinery on the drainfield. Keep dog kennels and animal confinement facilities away from drainfields
- Do not build patios, decks, driveways, garages, or any other structures over the drainfield.
Avoid Introducing Excess Water to the Drainfield
- Excess water in the drainfield will fill soil pore spaces with water that does not require treatment, taking up valuable space that could be used for oxygen and/or wastewater.
- Roof drains, downspouts, and basement drainage should be diverted. Water should be tiled outside the septic system and away from the drainfield. Irrigate only when absolutely necessary in the drainfield area. Always avoid flooding the drainfield region with huge volumes of water.
Maintain structural integrity of the drainfield.
- Do not add dirt to the area except to fill in minor depressions to prevent water from accumulating
- Keep rats and burrowing animals away from your home. Establish and maintain a grassy buffer zone around the drainage field. It is not permissible to put trees on or near the drainfield. It will be harmed by the roots.
For NEW systems, maintain a replacement drainfield area.
- It is required by regulations that newly constructed systems include a reserve area for replacement in the event that the first drainfield fails
- This reserve area must be handled in the same manner as the first drainfield.
7 Tips to Take Care of Your Septic System
It is required by regulations that newly constructed systems include a reserve area for replacement if and when the first drainfield fails; this reserve area must be handled in the same manner as the first drainfield.
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?
Septic system maintenance is not difficult, and it does not have to cost a lot of money to perform it properly. The consequences of failing to maintain your septic system, on the other hand, may be quite costly, since digging up and rebuilding a septic system can cost thousands of dollars.
Get Familiar With Your Septic System
Taking care of your septic system is not difficult and does not have to be expensive. It is possible that failing to maintain your septic system may cost you a lot of money in the long run, since digging up and rebuilding a septic system can cost several thousands of dollars.
Have It Pumped Routinely
Taking care of your septic system is not difficult and does not have to cost a lot of money. The consequences of failing to maintain your septic system, on the other hand, might be costly in the long run, since digging up and rebuilding a septic system can cost many thousands of dollars.
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
Homeowners’ use of a variety of cleaning chemicals might cause harm to the beneficial microorganisms in a septic tank. When washing garments, try to avoid using chemicals such as bleach. Use only a little quantity if you absolutely must. Drain cleansers should not be used since they can harm the tank itself in addition to killing beneficial microorganisms. Alternatively, if a plunger does not work, a toilet drain snake, which is also effective on clogged kitchen and bathroom sinks, should be used.
Quaternary ammonia is also included in antibacterial soaps and disinfectants, so stay away from these products as well.
Septic System Care and Maintenance
Homes located outside the reach of a municipal sewer system must treat and distribute wastewater on their own property. This domestic sewage treatment system, like all other components of a home, demands constant care and maintenance. A neglected system poses a hazard to public health and may result in financial damages to the property owner’s investment. In cities, the wastewater treatment system is cared for by a skilled and certified professional operator. The property owner is responsible for the upkeep of any domestic sewage treatment systems installed on the premises.
A well maintained wastewater treatment system may be anticipated to last for around 20 years.
The system installer or the local health agency can provide you with detailed information on a sophisticated treatment system or a difficult dispersal system.
Three things a homeowner can do to ensure that the system is trouble-free and operates as intended for the duration of its life cycle are: save water, garden properly, and maintain the septic tank and its associated components.
The most important thing a homeowner can do to keep their domestic sewage treatment system in good working order is to use less water. A domestic home’s sewage system is intended to manage 50–60 gallons per person per day of household sewage, according to the manufacturer. The addition of more water than the system is designed to handle might cause the system to fail. Water conservation strategies such as the ones listed below can be implemented:
- Consider putting in low-flow shower heads and toilets, along with front-loading washing machines to help save water in your home. Water leaks, such as leaky faucets and toilet valves that don’t seal, should be repaired. Water consumption should be spread out. For example, avoid washing numerous loads of clothes on the same day and space out bathing times throughout the day to conserve energy.
The septic system for the home is buried in the yard, which means that even seemingly innocuous landscape alterations might cause significant harm to the septic system. Make a note of the system’s placement and use caution when making upgrades to the property. The following recommendations will assist you in extending the life of your system:
- Rainwater drainage should be diverted away from the soil absorption system region. Extra water can be sent to the location where wastewater is being processed and distributed by a variety of means, including downspouts, paved surfaces, and slopes. In a typical septic system, a yard receives an additional 100 inches of water each year in addition to what is normally received. Additionally, Ohio receives an average of 40 inches of precipitation each year, which is above average. Please keep the soil absorption system area free of solid things such as pavement, decks, automobiles, heavy equipment, and other similar structures. Heavy things can flatten the soil and block off bigger soil pores, reducing the quantity of water that can pass through the soil and into the surrounding environment. If the system is covered, access for maintenance and repair is similarly restricted
- Do not lay extra soil fill on top of the system to improve access. In order to allow for air infiltration, several of the system components are designed to be shallow. The use of fill to cover up sewage that has surfaced in a yard will not fix the problem and may even make the situation worse in some cases. The presence of sewage on the surface indicates that the system is not operating properly and requires repair or replacement.
Pump the Septic Tank and Clean the Filter
Typically, septic tanks (Figure 1) are erected to separate and store particles from sewage, which helps to prevent blockage of the soil and other treatment system components. Solids can migrate out of the tank and cause harm to the system if they are not maintained on a regular basis. Include the following septic tank upkeep in your budget:
- Pump the septic tank on a regular basis to keep it running smoothly. Table 1 depicts the expected time required for septic tank pumping for various tank sizes and family sizes
- And Tank pumping should not be substituted with biological or chemical additions in any situation. Because sewage contains sufficient bacteria and enzymes, the use of chemicals is unnecessary and, in some situations, detrimental. Do not dispose of rubbish using a garbage disposal. Solids accumulate in the tank, increasing the expense and frequency of maintenance
- As a result, the tank becomes overflowing. The condition of the baffles or tees (Figure 1) should be checked after the tank has been pumped. Baffles and tees are used to increase the removal and retention of particles in a filtration system. Depending on the amount of time passed, they may crumble or fall off, or they may be accidently damaged when pumping. You should remove and clean your effluent filter on a regular basis (6–12 months, depending on how often you use it) if your tank is equipped with one to aid in the collection and retention of solids. Use a hose to clean the filter, allowing the sediments to be washed back into the septic tank after cleaning. The filter may be cleaned with a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of detergent if a hose is not available (Figure 2). Cleaning a significantly blocked filter may necessitate the use of a brush in a pail of soapy water. Easy future maintenance is made possible by rigging from the tank ports to the ground surface (Figure 1). Protect the tank lid from damage caused by the mower and replace any damaged lids. Always keep the lids closed to prevent children and pets from getting into the tank. Never go into a septic tank unless absolutely necessary. The septic tank emits hazardous fumes that may kill a person in a matter of minutes if they are not properly maintained. If someone has unintentionally fallen into the tank, contact 911 and then place a fan on top of the tank to allow fresh air to circulate.
|Table 1.Estimated Septic Tank Pumping Frequency (in Years) for Different Size Tanks (Note: If a garbage disposal is used, more frequent pumping is required.)(Mancl, K. 1984. Estimating Septic Tank Pumping Frequency.J. of the Environmental Engineering DivisionASCE. 110(1):283-285.)
|Tank Size (gallons)
|Number of People in Household (Year-Round Residence)
Only a small number of households are capable of operating and maintaining a wastewater treatment system. This service is available in Ohio only through professional service providers. The providers are required to be registered with the local health department and to participate in yearly continuing education opportunities. An yearly examination combined with a minimal bit of maintenance can prevent a total system failure that would need an expensive and cumbersome system replacement in the majority of domestic sewage systems.