If you have a Septic System, how do you care for it?
A Septic System is in fact very simple – yet it requires regular maintenance to ensure it can still perform every vital task it is designed to do. The septic system is a network of pipes which begin in your home, drain into one pipe which is underground and is connected to the septic tank where the liquids and solids flow. The sludge sinks to the bottom and the liquid flows out to the weeping bed. As solids break down they will then flow out to the distribution box and leach out into the bed as well.
The sludge is what can cause your system problems. As the sludge accumulates, this will decrease the volume of your tank which then also decreases the retention of liquid before it leaves to the bed. If sludge is left too long this can cause your bed to plug up as there will be less space for the solids to break down and could flow out with the water into the bed. Worse is when the sludge reaches the outlet level and begins to plug up the distribution box, or worse the pipes in the weeping bed. If the system is left too long, unfortunately the weeping bed and tank will need to be replaced.
How do you know if your septic is healthy?
- Do you know where your septic tank and weeping bed are?
- Keep track of when it was pumped last. Also ensure that when it is pumped that ALL of the tank is cleaned out – not just the water.
- Do not put any unnecessary “Septic Tank” chemicals down the septic – a septic system is designed to do the work itself.
- Do not pour any household chemicals down the drain or toilet – especially bleach, paint, solvents, paint thinner, nail polish remover etc. All of these will disrupt the natural chemical balance in the septic system.
- Are your drains draining slowly? If so there could be a potential problem.
- Is your grass exceptionally green or spongy to walk on near the weeping bed.
- Do not pour oils, grease or fat down the sink or toilet.
- Feminine products can also cause issues or clog a septic system.
- Try to space out all of your water usage. Doing all of your laundry excessively on just Saturday and Sunday all day both days could cause potential issues with excess water entering the system. By using your water as equally as possible during the week this will allow the system to properly treat all of the water that enters and exits.
- Repair any leaking taps or drains – leaking water – even just one drop per second can waste tens of thousands of litres of water per year!
- Do not drive any vehicles or large equipment over your septic tank or pipes – this will cause major damage.
- Do not plant any trees or flower gardens in, on or too close to the weeping bed.
- Do not build over your septic tank or weeping bed – if there is ever a problem OR when your tank needs to be pumped this will cost extra and may need to be removed or damaged to do the repair/pump.
- Have your tank checked at least every 5 years and pumped when necessary.
- When in doubt – ask a professional!