Septic System Maintenance - Do's & Don'ts
The Number One reason for a septic system failure is...
Feminine hygiene products or condoms wrapped around the septic pump impellor which seizes the motor. Don’t flush anything which does not decompose quickly and naturally. Pump repair cost — $500.00.
When properly installed and maintained, your septic system should provide decades of trouble-free, low-cost service
An important environmental note
Pharmaceuticals or any medications should never be flushed into the septic system. The chemicals within the drugs do not break down easily and have been identified as migrating through the soil and into the water aquifers.
The original system was designed with a specific load factor. Do not add additional water loading from water softeners, iron filters, foundation drains or sumps, hot tubs, pool filters, or bedroom additions without consulting the septic designer / installer.
- Conventional septic tanks should be pumped out every 2 - 3 years depending on the volume of use. Use a reputable septic service company like High Country Vac Services - phone: (403) 333-6082 / website...
- If pumps are used in the system they may utilized a filter or screen. These need to be cleaned annually or possibly more often.
- Rain water or spring runoff should be directed away from the septic tank and field locations. Water cannot be allowed to pond on top of the field area.
- All traffic of any type should not be allowed to cross the septic field. The buried components only have 24” of soil coverage and are susceptible to the compaction created. In addition frost may be driven in with foot, hoof, or vehicles of any type. Frost or compacted soils will create septic field failures which are expensive to repair.
- Septic field additives or chemicals should never be required if your system is designed and operating properly. If the system is malfunctioning or smells bad then consult a professional septic service company and identify and rectify the problem. Additives only prolong or mask the real issue.
- Keep your plumbing fixtures in good working condition. A very slow leaking toilet can easily add over 350 gallons per day to your septic system, which is more than the total design loading for a 3 bedroom home.
- Keep diagrams and any operational manuals showing the location of your septic tank and disposal field.
Manhole access lids must be secure and raised above the grass for accessibility and to eliminate water draining into it.
Extending your system
- Clothes washing should be staggered over a couple of days to reduce overloading the septic tank. Consider using new style front loading machines which operate with much less water.
- Consider using liquid style laundry soap. The powdered style tends to have a lot of filler material in it which solidifies in the septic tank and clogs the system.
- Cooking greases and fats should not be sent down the drain. Greases do not breakdown easily and float to the surface in the septic tank which reduces the working capacity volume.