Septic System Maintenance

Extend the Life of your Septic System

If you are like most homeowners, you probably never give much thought to what happens when waste goes down your drain. But if you rely on a septic system to treat and dispose of your household wastewater, what you don’t know can hurt you.

Septic system maintenance is often compared to automobile maintenance because only a little time and effort on a regular basis can save a lot of money and significantly prolong the life of the system. The minimal amount of preventative maintenance that septic systems require costs $100-$300 average, for a pumping and inspection every 3-5 years; very little in comparison to the cost of a new system, which can be as high as $50,000!

If you have a garburator, this will increase the solids in your tank by up to 50 per cent so more frequent pumping will be necessary. Follow these tips to keep your septic system healthy. For a more detailed information on Septic Tank Maintenance, review the document from Nova Scotia Environment available at: Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems

  • Don’t wash coffee grinds, food scraps, including grease and cooking oils down the drain.
  • Don’t use the toilet to dispose of plastics, paper towels, pharmaceuticals, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, dental floss, disposable diapers, condoms, kitty litter, etc.
  • Do use toilet paper that dissolves easily. To check, place a small amount in a jar full of water and shake. If it starts to break up it is safe for use, if not, choose a different type of toilet paper.
  • Don’t put any toxic or hazardous chemicals in your septic.
  • Household cleaners such as bleach, disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners should be used in moderation and only in accordance with product labels. Overuse of these products can harm your system.
  • Even a small amount of a drain cleaner can disrupt the operation of your tank so avoid if possible.
  • Don’t do excessive amounts of laundry in one day. Too much water entering the system at once can allow solids into your drainfield.
  • Avoid using the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time
  • Do use only nonphosphate or low phosphate laundry detergents
  • Don’t drain hot tubs/swimming pools into your septic system.
  • Don’t allow backwash from home water softeners to enter the septic system.
  • Do fix leaky faucets. Even a small drip can produce up to 20 gallons of wastewater a day
  • Don’t plant anything other than grass over your septic field. Roots can damage the pipes
  • Direct water from land and roof drains away from septic field.
  • Don’t drive or park on your septic field
Check out this spetic tank pumping chart from Mr. Rooter: