Printable version of Helpful Hints
Septic systems should not be treated as normal city sewer. Water conservation and proper maintenance is important.
Since it is not practical for the average homeowner to inspect the septic tank to determine the need for cleaning, a regular cleaning schedule of cleaning the tank in three to five year intervals should be established. An aerobic system should be pumped 1-2 years. Commercial cleaners are equipped to readily perform the cleaning operations.
Septic tanks should be cleaned before sludge accumulates to the point where it reaches the bottom of the outlet baffle. If sludge or scum accumulates to this point, solids will leave the tank with the liquid. This can clog the perforations in the drain field pipes reducing the life of the system and leading to system failure.
Do not build a driveway, sidewalk, storage building, pool, deck, or any other structures over the tanks or disposal field. Do keep your system accessible for inspections and pumping, while at the same time protect if from unauthorized entrance. Make sure that your service contractor has access.
Keep vehicle and heavy livestock traffic off the system.
It is important to keep groundcover growing and mowed over the drain field. Good groundcover prevents uphill drainage from eroding the soil off the drain field pipes leading to effluent surfacing. The groundcover aids in absorption of the effluent moving towards the surface. Keeping the grass mowed allows proper evaporation and drying of the field(s). If the effluent is disbursed by spray heads, keep vegetation trimmed low within the entire radius of the spray heads. Important to protect spray heads from damage.
Keep deep-rooted vegetation away from the septic system. Tree roots can damage tanks and clog field lines.
Your system is designed to treat only human waste/sewage. Normal household soaps, detergents, bleach, and cleaning agents will not impair system functioning. However, use moderation when using such materials.
Using in-sink garbage grinders excessively and discarding of grease down the sink should be avoided because it causes rapid buildup of sludge or scum resulting in a need for more frequent cleaning. Grease can clog pipes leading to system failure.
Do not use the toilet to dispose of cleaning tissues, cigarette butts, or other trash. Doing this will waste water and impose an undesired solids load on the treatment system especially in aerobic systems.
Chemical additives, or so-called enzymes, are not necessary for the proper operation. Some of these additives may even be harmful, especially to aerobic systems.
It is highly recommended not to backflush a water softener into a septic system, This heavy concentration of salt causes corrosion of system components and kills helpful bacteria, especially aerobic systems.
Installing a sprinkler system over a drain field causes hydraulic stress on the drain field. Recommend removing.
Divert surface water, like uphill drainage, roof runoff & pool drains and sump pumps away from the system. The system is not designed to handle flows other than normal household wastewater.
Call a service professional whenever you experience problems with your system, such as sewage back up, activated alarms, or surfacing effluent. Don't attempt to clean or perform maintenance. Don't make or allow unauthorized repairs or changes to your system unless first obtaining the proper permits from your governing authority.
Wastewater is still heavily laden with bacteria. The surfacing of this liquid constitutes a HEALTH HAZARD to those who might be exposed to it. Call for repairs immediately.
Additions of square footage and/or bedrooms to your home must be permitted with the governing authority to maintain a valid License to Operate.
Do keep detailed records about your system, including a map of where it is, and also general information, such as License to Operate, model name, service agreement, records of service visits, and maintenance performed.
By law, the only household water that may be diverted off the septic system is washer machine water. This water, called greywater, must be discharged through a flexible plastic hose with a lint trap on the end. The discharge/greywater must not leave the property or create a nuisance. Some areas no longer allow greywater diversion.
Aerobic Septic Systems
It is very important to understand how an aerobic septic system works. Failure to properly use and maintain the system can create a HEALTH HAZARD and cause system failure.
Some governing authorities require that an aerobic system be maintained at all times under a service contract offered by a licensed service provider. The homeowner owner and/or service provider is required to file, in a timely manner, the service contract and quarterly inspection reports with the governing authority. Contact your governing authority for current regs.
FAILURE TO KEEP CHLORINE in the chlorinator CREATES A HEALTH HAZARD.
Use ONLY septic chlorine. DO NOT USE SWIMMING POOL CHLORINE.
Don't turn your aerobic system off for any reason or make any adjustments to system
components, unless instructed to do so by your service provider. To do so may endanger
your health, and may void any warranty.
The effluent being discharged through the sprinkler heads, IF PROPERLY TREATED, still has "acceptable levels of fecal colliform" present. As a safety precaution, divert sprinkler heads away from pools, barbeque pits, playscapes, and other outdoor equipment.
Water Conservation Measures
Leaky faucets, toilets, & water purifiers should be repaired as quickly as possible to prevent hydraulic overload. RO systems add water load to the septic system, recommend removing.
Check toilets for leaks that may not be apparent. This can be done by adding a few drops of food coloring to the holding tank. Do not flush. If the color appears in the bowl within a few minutes, then the toilet components need adjustment or replacement.
To reduce the amount of water used when flushing the toilet install a new 1.6 gallon toilet or a toilet tank dam. Or you may fill and cap a one-quart plastic bottle with water and lower it into the tank.
Try to run the dishwasher with a full load, whenever possible.
Avoid running the water continuously while brushing teeth, washing hands, rinsing kitchen utensils, or cleaning vegetables.
To reduce water consumption, use low flow faucet aerators that restrict the flow. Ask your city, county or local government about their programs to conserve water.
Insulate all hot water pipes to avoid long delays of wasted water while waiting for the heated water.
Avoid using tidy bowl products, especially on aerobic systems.