Septic System Care and Maintenance

How do I need to know to take care of my septic system?

There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding septic systems. Some folks actually suggest throwing a dead chicken into a new septic system to “get the bacteria going.” This is generally considered bad advice, especially among chickens.

Some Good Advice:

    • Have your tank pumped every 3-5 years. An experienced septic pumper will check the depth of the sludge in your tank and make pumping schedule recommendations. Depending on your wastewater usage, pumping may be necessary more or less frequently.
    • How long your absorption field lasts is basically a function of the volume and strength of water you put into the system. You should make a considerable effort to conserve water at every step. Hydraulic overloading is a main cause of early system failure. Install low flow shower heads, toilets and washing machines. Don’t use a garbage disposal (or use it rarely).
    • Don’t use system additives (chemical or biological)
    • Don’t construct pools or other structures over any part of your system
    • Don’t flush anything that won’t quickly decompose
    • Don’t plant trees or bushes in the area of your tank or absorption field
    • Don’t run clear water drains (i.e. foundation / basement drains) into your septic system
    • Don’t discharge your water softener to your septic system. Sodium can corrode concrete and may interfere with the soil’s structure and its ability to absorb water. If the softener must discharge to your septic system, set it to cycle less frequently. This will minimize the amount of sodium going to your septic.
    • The use of antibacterial products (including soaps) may adversely effect your system.

Be Save the chicken for the roaster!

GUIDE TO HOMEONWERS by NESC at West Virginia University
How to Maintain Your Drain field by NESC at West Virginia University
See EPA’s Homeowner Guide to Septic Systems

For more good advice and information about your septic system, contact your County Health Department or go to one of the the following links below.

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