Four Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Septic System
Here are some responses to Frequently Asked Septic System Questions that can help prolong the life of your septic system.
Why is water conservation important?
There are limits to the amount of water septic systems can treat. Limiting water used in showering, toilet flushing and washing machines can help tremendously. Try to spread out clothes laundering throughout the week instead of all in one day. A new Energy Star washing machine uses 50% less water than a standard model.
I’ve heard I shouldn’t use a garbage disposal. Why is that?
Garbage disposals have a dramatic impact on how often you’ll need to pump your septic tank. Food particles usually are not digested by the bacteria and accumulate as scum. If a large amount of water enters the tank, it can then push the food particles into the drainfield, causing clogging. If you must use a garbage disposal, your tank will need to be pumped more frequently.
Should I be careful of what I pour down the drain?
Yes, many materials that are poured down the drain do not decompose and remain in the tank. Don’t pour grease, fats, and oils down the drain or place coffee grounds and egg shells in the disposal or down the drain. Keep chemicals out of your system.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
Flush only human waste and toilet paper down the toilet—avoid flushing dental floss, cat litter (including “flushable” varieties), hair, Kleenex, cigarette butts, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, condoms, paper towels, static cling sheets, diapers, and disposable wipes. These items could clog your septic system components and cause a failure.
Will additives help my system?
No. Adding a stimulator or an enhancer to a septic tank to help it function or “to restore bacterial balance” is not necessary. The naturally occurring bacteria needed for the septic system to work are already present in human feces. According to the U.S. Department of Health, none of these products eliminate the need for routine maintenance and pumping.
How often should I have the tank pumped?
How often you need to pump depends on the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, and the amount and type of solids. A septic tank should be inspected annually to check for needed repairs and pumped as needed, usually every 3 to 5 years. Some alternative systems that are more complex may need pumping more frequently.
Please contact us for a list of recommended pumpers.