Sewage System Maintenance

Protect your investment and the environment, take care of your septic system

For a longer, trouble free operation, you have to watch what gets flushed down the drain.

How an on-site sewage disposal system operates

A typical septic system consists of two major components, the tank and the bed. Septic tanks are constructed out of concrete or polyethylene. The tank is separated into two compartments with a baffle inside. The purpose of the tank is to separate the liquids from the solids, and to begin breaking down the contaminants. The solids settle to the bottom, scum floats to the top and the liquid effluent migrates past the baffle to the second compartment. This process occurs anaerobically, (without oxygen), so the tank needs to be sealed.

After leaving the septic tank, the effluent flows to the bed area through the header. The leaching bed consists of perforated pipes, in the ground which distribute the effluent evenly over the natural soil or more commonly now, imported fill. The bed area further treats the effluent aerobically, bacteria which require oxygen, digest and remove the impurities; organic chemicals, viruses, suspended solids etc.. The filtered wastewater then aspirates and evaporates into the air above the bed or leaches into the natural soil and ultimately into the groundwater.

DO'S

  • Reduce the amount of water and wastewater entering the septic system. This can be accomplished by installing low-flush toilets, water saving fixtures, doing only full loads of dishes or laundry. Fix leaking taps, less water in equals less water out.
  • Pump out the tank every 3 years, and have the tank inspected. 75% of the system failures are traced back to solids clogging the tank and bed
  • Maintain the area over the bed, keep the grass cut. Keep trees away, the roots will enter and clog up the pipes.
  • Use low sudsing, low phosphate detergents. Biodegradable detergents, with washing soda ingredients are recommended. Fabric softner dryer sheets are preferred over liquid softners in the wash.
  • Use recommended cleaning products which are non-chlorine, biodegradable, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
  • Have an effluent filter installed at the outlet of the tank, to reduce the amount of suspended solids entering the bed area.
  • Control water runoff from roofs, driveways and yards, grade away from the leaching bed area.

DONT'S

  • do not do laundry all in one day each week, the large quantities of soapy water agitate the solids in the tank and dilute the beneficial microbes at work 
  • do not use the bed area as a parking lot or skating rink, the bed requires air to function properly. Compacting and/or freezing the soils will reduce the lifespan of your bed. 
  • do not dispose grease, fats and oils into the system, they do not break down and tend to clog the weepers. 
  • do not dump pesticides, herbicides, paints, automobile fluids, household chemicals, home brewery wastes, strong medicines, antibiotics or any other toxins into the system, they kill the active bacteria. 
  • do not drain furnace condensate discharges and water softner backwashes into the plumbing system. Instal a dry well.