If you own a septic system, it is important that it be properly maintained. How often you need to pump the solids out of your septic tank depends on three major factors:
– the number of people in your household;
– the amount of waste water generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used); and,
– the volume of solids in the waste water (e.g., using a garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids).
Although your septic tank absorption field generally does not require maintenance, you should adhere to the following rules to protect and prolong its functional life:
– Do not drive over the absorption field with cars, trucks, or heavy equipment.
– Do not plant trees or shrubbery in the absorption field area, because the roots can get into the lines and plug them.
– Do not cover the absorption field with hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Grass is the best cover, because it will help prevent erosion and help remove excess water.
– Do divert surface runoff water from roofs, patios, driveways, and other areas away from the absorption field.
Septic system maintenance is often compared to automobile maintenance because only a little effort on a regular basis can save a lot of money and significantly prolong the life of the system.
Annual inspections of your septic system are recommended to ensure that it is working properly and to determine when the septic tank should be pumped. Systems that have moving parts may require more frequent inspections. By having your system inspected and pumped regularly, you can prevent the high cost of septic system failure.
When it’s time to pump, be sure to hire a licensed contractor. He or she will have the appropriate equipment and will dispose of the sludge at an approved treatment site. Pumping your septic tank is probably the single most important thing that you can do.
It is very important to keep a detailed record of all inspections, pumping, permits, repairs, and any other maintenance to your system along with a sketch of where your septic system is located. Having this information on hand for service visits can save you both time and money.
Learn the location of your septic system, and keep a diagram or sketch of it with your maintenance records.
Protect the tank and drain field
Protect your septic system from potential damage. Don’t plant anything but grass near your septic system roots from shrubs and trees can cause damage and don’t allow anyone to drive or operate heavy machinery over any part of the system. Also, don’t build anything over the drain field. Grass is the most appropriate cover for the drain field.