From time to time, we get questions about septic tanks. Chances are you do not have a septic tank. Instead, you are most likely hooked up to a sewer system; but if you do happen to have a septic tank, the good news is that it’s not difficult to care for the tank. Most modern systems are very efficient and you only have to follow some basic guidelines. Keep these in mind to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free and clean septic system.
Have a plan for rainwater
If your drain field is soggy, it won’t be very efficient when it comes to neutralizing liquid waste. This means that you will have to plan your roof gutters, foundation drains and landscaping in a way so that there will be as little rainwater around the drain field as possible.
Avoid overloading the tank and the septic field
In order to make sure that there won’t be too much waste for the system to neutralize, you should check the toilets and faucets for leaks and make the necessary repairs.You might also want to use flow reducer nozzles and aerators on your faucets to reduce the water consumption. When using the washing machine, you should adapt the water consumption to the volume of clothes you have. If you have a dishwasher, you should use it only when it’s full.
No trees around your septic tank
The root of trees can damage your septic system and this is why it is best to keep trees at least 100 yards away from the system. If you are planning on planting trees with aggressive roots, like willows, you should keep an even larger distance.
Be careful what you flush down the toilet
Remember that your toilet isn’t a garbage disposal. You should make sure that you don’t flush down garbage like cat litter, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, paper towels, coffee grounds, facial tissues, tampons or cigarette butts. These can clog the tank quickly.
How to use your garbage disposal?
If you have a garbage disposal, it could double the amount of solid waste the tank has to neutralize, and it is best policy to not have a garbage disposal if you have a septic tank, but rather use a catch in your sink so that very few solids make it down the drain. If you do choose to install a garbage disposal, you should get a high quality disposal that will ground the waste food into tiny pieces to make the job of the tank easier. Give us a call if you would like to know more about which garbage disposal to choose.
Chemicals and cleaners
Avoid using heavy cleaners that can reach the tank because they will kill the good bacteria and there will be nothing to break down the solids. Also make sure that no hazardous chemicals will ever reach the tank. These include varnish, motor oils, paint thinners and gasoline, and they all pose a threat to the groundwater.
Solids will have to be removed from the tank periodically. If you have a 1,000 gallon tank, you will have to clean it after 3-5 years of use. If you want to clean it, never open the tank on your own. There are bacteria and gases that are dangerous for people. This is a job best left to trained professionals.
Maintaining a septic tank isn’t difficult if you stick to the above mentioned guidelines and use the tank as it should be used. If you have any more questions about your plumbing, explore more of our helpful tips posts, or give us a call.