Homeowner Maintenance

Maintenance Can Extend the Life of Your Septic System.

  • Pump your septic tank on a regular basis, depending on usage. See “Pumping Services” section for a basic guide.
  • If you use a garbage disposal, pump your tank every year. Or remove the garbage disposal and compost your kitchen scraps. The use of garbage disposals can lead to a buildup of grease and sludge.
  • Keep kitchen grease, such as bacon fat and fryer oil, out of your septic system. Grease is not easily broken down and can clog your drain field.
  • Space out laundry loads over the course of the week and wash only full loads. The average load of laundry uses 47 gallons of water. One load per day rather than 7 loads on a day makes a big difference to your septic system. Front loading washers use less water than top loading machines.
  • Install low usage water fixtures. Examples of low water usage fixtures would include: showerheads (2.5 gallons/minute), toilets (1.6 gallons), dishwashers (5.3 gallons) and washing machines (14 gallons). The average family can reduce the amount of water entering the septic system by 20,000 gallons per year!
  • Use liquid laundry detergent. Powdered laundry detergents use clay. This clay can increase the buildup of solids in the septic tank and potentially plug the disposal area.
  • Minimize the amount of household cleaners (bleach & harsh cleaners) and other potentially toxic substances from entering the septic system. If your do lots of painting and wash your tools in the sink you should consider pumping your septic tank every 6 to 12 months.
  • Do not use disinfecting automatic toilet bowl cleaners, such as those containing bleach or acid compounds. The continous slow release of these chemicals into the septic system kills the micro-organisms which treat your waste water.
  • The most frequently asked question concerns septic system additives. You do not need to put special additives into your septic system. As a matter of fact, some can do more harm than good. The additives that advertise the removal of solids from your tank can be troublesome. The problem results from the solids exiting the tank and ending up in the disposal field. Once there, the solids seal off the disposal area, and the system malfunctions. Although it hurts nothing, it is not necessary to “feed” a system with yeast or other additives. Normal human waste contains enough bacteria for the septic tank, and other microbes are already present in the soil and leach bed area.
  • Installing an effluent filter can help preserve the life of your drain field by trapping the suspended solids, grease and small floating particles.