DO’s and DON’Ts for Taking Care of Your Septic System
The hassle of your septic system failing can be greatly avoided by paying a little attention to taking care of your system. Having your septic system at the right location properly designed and installed according to code, is already a good start. The recommendations below can also help you maintain proper functioning of your system in the years to come.
✓ Consciously conserving water decreases the amount of wastewater to be treated and disposed of by your septic system. Also, doing laundry every other day helps minimize the pressure on your system.
✓ Make sure to restore leaky faucets and toilets immediately. In order for you to determine if there are toilet leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank and observe if the dye migrates to the toilet bowl without flushing.
✓ Keep down spouts and other surface water away from the tank and drain field as too much water can prevent the soil from sufficiently purifying the wastewater.
✓ Your tank cover must be easily accessible for inspecting and pumping. If necessary, install risers which have lids.
✓ Contact a certified septic tank contractor and have your tank inspected and pumped on a regular basis. It’s advised that you do this every 3-5 years. To protect your system, pumping it regularly is definitely the single most important precaution. Too high build-up of solids in the tank can cause the solids to clog the drain field, which could strain your system leaving you with the worst scenario – having to replace your drain field with a new one.
✓ If any problems occur, or you see signs that may indicate a let-down in the system, directly call a registered septic tank contractor.
✓ Record every repair, pumping, inspection and other activities for maintenance of the septic system and make sure to hand it out to the next homeowner later on.
x Do not step, drive or compress soil over your tank and drain field.
x Don’t cover your drain field or tank, nor dig around and construct anything over it.
x Since plants and trees have roots that may clog or impair the drain lines, it is safer not to plant anything over and near the drain field, except grass.
x Garbage disposals can add up to 50% of your tank’s solids and often leads you to pump your tank even more than the suggested frequency. It is advised that you do not use a garbage disposal, or at least limit its usage if possible.
x Don’t pour harmful chemicals and cleansers down the drain or consider the toilet as a trash can as this might poison your system. Bacteria that purify your wastewater can be destroyed by these harsh chemicals. Do not throw out things such as coffee grounds, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, fats, grease or oil, paints, thinners, photographic solutions, antibiotics, dental floss, kitty litter, paper towels, varnishes, waste oils or pesticides in the toilet.
x Keep backwash from home water softeners away from your system.
x Never go into your septic tank as poisonous gases can kill you. Instead, acquire assistance from your county health department or call Maryland Septic Services at (443) 640-6011 whenever problems occur with your system.