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Caring For Your Septic System

Caring For Your Septic System
September 29, 2021 Jo

Do you know the best way to care for your septic tank?

Failing septic system can cause serious problems for you. They can:

  • Be a serious health threat to your family neighbours
  • Reduce the value of your property
  • Be very expensive to repair
  • Put thousands of water supply users at risk if you live in a public water supply area and fail to maintain your system

Know the warnings of a failing system:

  • Sewage surfacing over the drain field (especially after storms)
  • Sewage backs up in the house
  • Lush, green growth over the drain field
  • Slow draining of toilets or drains
  • Sewage odors

 

To get the best out of your septic system and avoid troubles follow these Do’s and Don’ts

 

Do’sVisual
Have your septic system pumped out every 5 – 10 years (depending on household numbers)
Keep record of pumping inspections and maintenance
Practice water conservation. Repair dripping taps and leaking toilets, run washing machines and dishwashers when full, avoid long showers, and use water-saving features in taps, shower heads and toilets
Have a sink strainer to prevent food particles moving into the system and slowing down the process
Know the location of the septic system and drain-field, keep sketch handy for service visits. If system has a flow diversion valve, learn the diversion location, and turn it once a year. Flow diverters can add many years to the life or your system
Divert roof drains and surface water from driveways and hillsides away from the septic system. Keep sump pumps and house footing drains away from the septic system as well
Use “septic safe” cleaning aids
Install an outlet filter on your septic tank, inspect and clean to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This will prevent the smaller solids from flowing out and clogging trenches and beds
Have your grease trap and greywater pumpwell cleaned out regularly (grease trap 2 months – pumpwell 6 months)
Keep and area free of obstructions so that a replacement system can be installed should the existing become unusable
Don’tsVisual
Neglect or abuse your septic as it can cause it to fail
Allow anyone to drive or park over any part of the septic system. The area over the drain-field should be left undisturbed with only a mowed grass cover. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs may clog and damage your drain lines
Store or stack anything on top of your tank or drain field
Make or allow repairs to your system without obtaining the required health department permit. Use professionally licensed contractors when needed
Pour oils and fats down the sink as they can solidify and block the system. Instead put them in a container, such as a milk carton, and throw out with the rubbish
Use a garbage disposal unit – no food products should be disposed of in the sewage management system
Flush or allow harsh chemicals to enter the system which will harm the living organisms in the septic tank or cause health and environmental problems when irrigated from a pumpwell (paints, varnishes, thinners, photographic solutions, disinfectants, antiseptics, some detergents, and some medications)

For more information about maintenance or inspection of your septic system, check out the full septic installation, maintenance and caring guidelines here, contact the plumber who installed your tank or your local council.

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