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Septic Tank Maintenance

A septic tank gone wrong can be a disaster. Make sure you are on a regular maintenance schedule with yours.

The Septic Tank: A Unique Wastewater Solution

Septic tank systems are often used in rural areas, where connection to traditional sewer systems is not possible. Functioning as on-site sewage treatment, they treat wastewater discretely and, if maintained, exhibit no odor.

Septic Tank Construction and Operation

A septic tank system is comprised of two parts: a drainpipe and a tank. Septic tanks are buried below grade and connected to homes via a drainpipe, which conducts raw sewage. Subsequent drainpipes stretch out from the tank, making the leach field. The leach field cleanses and treats the wastewater.

The tank portion of the septic system may be made of wood, concrete, steel and fiberglass or any combination of the four. The tank is made to be watertight and is practically airtight. Wastewater and sewage collects and is stored in the tank, where anaerobic bacteria decompose the solid sewage elements. Liquids enter the tank are quickly discharged into the leach field, where their own breakdown process takes place.

Septic tank systems are designed and constructed for longevity and can operate seamlessly for years with proper, routine maintenance. The following septic tank maintenance procedures will ensure long life for your septic system.

Keep Your Septic Tank Properly Maintained

Avoid introducing foreign material to your tank. The interior of a septic tank represents a -delicately balanced, organic system. Adding bacteria is acceptable and can help mitigate sludge.

Regularly pump the system.

Normal amounts of bleaches, detergents, drain cleaners and other regular cleaning solutions can be put inside the tank without disrupting the balance. Avoid excessive amounts.

Do not put coffee grounds, meat fat, thick paper towels, diapers, tissues, cigarettes or any other non-decomposable items into your drains. They will clog your septic system.

Do not put grease down your drains, but store it in disposable containers and throw it in the trash when cooled. Grease will stymie the operation of your septic system.

Buy top-shelf toilet paper that comes apart easily when wet. You can test the brittleness of your toilet paper by putting it in a water-filled jar, shaking and observing whether or not it disintegrates easily.

Every one to three years, clean your septic tank. The frequency depends on tank size.

Appropriate and responsible septic tank maintenance can keep your septic system operating cleanly and efficiently for decades.

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