Dos & Don’ts

System Dos

To extend the life of your on-site sewage system, save on maintenance costs and protect water quality:

  1. Inspect Your Septic Tank Annually

    Generally, septic tanks should be pumped every three to five years.

  2. Use Less Water

    Reduce the amount of waste water entering your on-site sewage system to increase its life span. Excessive water use is a main cause of system failure.

    To reduce household water use:

    • Use water-saving bathroom, laundry and kitchen fixtures (faucets, shower heads, toilets, front loading washing machines).
    • Run and drain appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, one at a time.
    • Spread laundry over the entire week; avoid partial loads, and no more than 2 – 3 loads per day.
    • Fix all faucet and toilet leaks promptly. Even a slow leak can overload the drainfield.
  3. Direct Water from Downspouts and Roofs Away from the Drainfield

    Additional water from these sources may prevent your drainfield from working properly.

  4. Keep Cars and Trucks Off the Septic Tank and Drainfield Areas

    This prevents pipes from breaking and soil from becoming compacted. Compacted soils can’t absorb water from the drainfield.

  5. Install Risers for Easier Access

    Risers from the tank lids to the soil surface make maintenance easier, saving time and money.

System Dont's

To keep your on-site sewage system in proper working order, keep these things in mind:

  1. Avoid Garbage Disposal Use

    A garbage disposal adds solids and grease to your system, which could lead to drainfield failure.

  2. Don’t Use Septic Tank Additives or “Miracle” System Cleaners

    Some of these chemicals can actually harm your on-site sewage system by allowing solids to flow into and clog the drainfield. The chemicals can also contaminate ground and surface water.

  3. Don’t Dispose of Water from Hot Tubs into the On-Site Sewage System

    Large volumes of water are harmful to the system, and the chlorine can destroy important bacteria in the system. Drain hot tubs onto the ground, away from the drainfield and not into a storm drain.

  4. Don’t Flush Solid Wastes into the On-Site Sewage System

    These inclued diapers, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, tampons, condoms and grease.

  5. Don’t Put Strong Chemicals Down the Drain

    Household chemicals—such as drain cleaners, paint thinners and floor cleaners—can destroy important bacteria in your septic tank and contaminate ground and surface water.

  6. Don’t Build, Pave or Use Landscaping Plastic Over the Drainfield

    Grass is the best cover for your septic tank and drainfield. Soil compaction and paving prevents oxygen from getting into the soil. This oxygen is needed by bacteria to break down and treat sewage.

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