It is important to keep the area of your septic system clear of trees, shrubs, and ornamental plants. A busy yard will only grow heavy roots into your septic system. Yes, your trees and shrubs are looking nice and green and growing large. That's because they are feeding off your septic system. A heavy rooted yard will grow roots into the tank and pipes in the drainfield and stop the flow of water, causing drainfield failure. A septic tank needs to be serviced the same as your car would. Every three years you need to open your septic tank from the inlet access point and pump the liquids and solid matter from the tank. Scheduled pumping of your septic tank will keep the solid content from building up and seeping out to your drainfield. Too much solid matter in the system will stop up a drainfield and the cost of replacing a drainfield will be much more than scheduled maintenance. Some tanks, (built after 1999), will have a filter in the tank and it is important to clean the filter from the outgoing side of the tank. Call today to schedule an appointment.
If the solid material is allowed to overflow from the tank into the absorption area, the area will clog and the system will fail. To avoid this failure, we recommend that an average family of three have their tank pumped annually.
If you are thinking of purchasing a home, we recommend you order a septic inspection. Most buyers order a home inspection unaware that it does not cover the septic system. Once you take possession of the home you may discover that your drains are slow draining or totally backed up. A septic inspection would have alerted you to this problem before you buy the home. A licenced septic contractor can test the septic system and give you a state certification as to the condition of the system.
We will open the system, run water to determine if the drainfield is draining, pump and inspect the septic tank to assure that it is structually sound and issue a state certification. Many finance companies require this inspection before they issue your home loan. Make an educated decision so you don't wind up making a costly mistake.
If you have recently purchased a home, we recommend you begin a maintenance program as soon as possible. You don't know what the maintenance record of the previous owner was so better safe than sorry. Over time a system may start to drain slowly, and not drain into the ground at a rate it was intended to. Building code requires a certain capacity septic tank and drainfield to absorbe the amount of effluent that is estimated to be used according to the size of the dwelling. After years of service, a system can drain sluggish due to poor maintenance, root from trees and shrubs, harden rock drainfields, or just too much water for the size it is.
We recommend to treat the system with chemicals in order to put the “good bacteria” back into the tank. The bacteria contained in the septic tank contributes to the conversion of solid waste materials into waste water.
Ten Tips for Maintaining Your Septic System
1. Pump your septic tank every two to five years, depending how heavily the system is used. Insist that the pumper clean your septic tank through the manhole in the center of the top of your septic tank, rather than the inspection ports above the inlet and outlet baffles.
2. If you use a garbage grinder (a.k.a. "dispose-all"), pump your tank every year. Or, better yet, remove the garbage grinder and compost your kitchen scraps. Garbage grinder use leads to buildups of grease from meat scraps and bones, and insoluble vegetable solids such as cellulose.
3. Keep kitchen grease, such as bacon fat and deep fryer oil, out of your septic system. It is not broken down easily by your system, can clog your drain field, and can not be dissolved by any readily available solvent that is legal to introduce to groundwater.
4. 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 Saturday makes a big difference to your septic system. Also, front loading washers use less water than top loading machines.
5. Install low usage water fixtures. By installing low water usage showerheads (2.5 gallons/minute), toilets (1.6 gallons), dishwashers (5.3 gallons) and washing machines (14 gallons) an average family can reduce the amount of water entering the septic system by 20,000 gallons per year! Low flow showerheads and toilets can be purchased at local lumberyards. Water saving dishwashers and washing machines can be purchased at better appliance stores.
6. Install a septic tank outlet filter in your tank. These generally sell for $100 to $200 depending upon brand and model. They catch small floating particles and lightweight solids, such as hair, before they can make it out to the disposal area and cause trouble. Some models are also designed to capture suspended grease.
7. Use liquid laundry detergent. Powered laundry detergents use clay as a "carrier." This clay can hasten the buildup of solids in the septic tank and potentially plug the disposal area.
8. Minimize the amount of household cleaners (bleach, harsh cleaners) and similar potentially toxic substances entering the septic system. Note: some substances are not allowed to be introduced into septic systems or groundwater tables. If in doubt, contact your Local Plumbing Inspector or the Division for more information.
9. Do not use disinfecting automatic toilet bowl cleaners, such as those containing bleach or acid compounds. The continuous slow release of these chemicals into the septic system kills the micro-organisms which treat your waste water.
10. You do not need to put special additives into your septic system. In fact, some can do more harm than good. Those which advertise that they will remove solids from your tank, usually do. The problem is that the solids exit the tank and end up in the disposal field. Once there, the solids seal off the disposal area, and the system malfunctions. Also, although it hurts nothing, it is not necessary to "seed" a new system with yeast, horse manure, and so forth. Normal human waste contains enough bacteria for the septic tank, and other microbes are already present in the soil and stones of the disposal area.