Septic System Use – What to Do and What to Avoid

A septic tank system is a biological treatment system which retains solids and returns liquid wastes to the ground through a percolation system. In the septic tank, microbial action breaks down the solids and reduces their volume. The remaining sludge, or septage, must be removed from the tank periodically. If this is not done, solids will overflow into the percolation system and clog it. The system will then back up into the house, or flow out onto the ground, necessitating costly repairs or replacement of the system.

The helpful bacteria in the septic tank must not be upset by the addition of chemicals into the system, nor should it be overloaded with garbage and paper wastes. The lists below should be observed to prevent failure of your septic tank system.

What to Do
  - Have a licensed septage hauler inspect your system regularly and pump it out when the septic tank is more than 1/3 full of sludge (every 2-4 years)
  - Fix leaky faucets and toilets promptly
  - Use water conservation devices; toilet tank modifications, faucet aerators, water conservation showerheads
  - Avoid extreme peak flows by spacing out laundry loads, bathing and dishwashing
  - Investigate promply, indications of potential failure.  These include:
      - Grass especially green, or snow melted over leach facility
      - Standing water in vicinity of leach facility
      - Black or reddish mud around leach area
      - Slow flushing toilets
      - Sewage odor in yard
   
  What to Avoid
  - Do not use caustic drain chemicals, spot removers or large amounts of laundry bleach
  - Do not dispose of grease, oils, paints, pesticides down the drain 
  - Do not use a garbage grinder 
  - Do not dispose of paper diapers or other sanitary products
  - Do not put large shrubs or trees, buildings, driveways or parking lots on top of waste lines or septic tank systems