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Septic Tank Management

The Importance of Septic Tank Maintenance

Why should I maintain my septic system?

A key reason to maintain your septic system is to save money! Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or replace, and poor maintenance is often the cause. Having your septic system inspected and pumped is far less expensive than replacing the entire system.

Other good reasons for the safe treatment of sewage include preventing the spread of infection and disease and protecting water resources. Typical pollutants in household wastewater are nitrogen, phosphorus, and disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Nitrogen and phosphorus can cause ugly algae blooms that can also hurt fish and other wildlife.

Septic tank maintenance layout

How does my septic system work?

The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle and oil and grease to float to the surface (as scum). It also allows partial decomposition of solid materials. An outlet in the septic tank prevents the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drain field area. After initial treatment, the wastewater exits the septic tank and is discharged into the drain field for further treatment by the soil. Microorganisms in the soil provide the final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.

Your septic system is your responsibility!

Did you know that as a homeowner you're responsible for maintaining your septic system?

Flush responsibly

Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, cat litter, paper towels, and other kitchen and bathroom items can clog and potentially damage septic system components. Flushing household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint can stress or destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system or might contaminate surface waters and groundwater.

Pump frequently

You should have a typical septic system inspected every 3 years by a professional and your tank pumped as recommended by the inspector (generally every 3 to 5 years). Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components need to be inspected more often.