We know that regular maintenance of large investments such as tools, cars, and homes can save money. Regular maintenance of our septic system can do all of that and protect our drinking water, lakes, rivers, streams and Puget Sound.
What many of us want to know is, what exactly does “regular maintenance” of our on-site septic system really mean?
Annual inspections can help find problems when they are small and easier and less costly to fix. Hire a professional to do the regular inspection or learn how to do it yourself. This septic system inspection video and can help you inspect your own septic system. We suggest that you watch the video and hire a professional for your first inspection. You will learn a lot about how your septic system works, and be better able to maintain it, even if you decide to keep hiring a professional for future inspections.
Set up a regular pumping schedule. All septic systems need to be pumped at some point. Most of them need to be pumped every 3-5 years, depending on how many people live in the home, types of products used and the amount and type of waste put into the system (like water, fats, oil, wipes). The professional who does the initial inspection can help you determine how often to pump your tank.
Everyday ways to keep your septic system healthy
- Be careful of what goes into your septic system. Only water, poop, pee, and toilet paper are meant to enter your septic system. Other items like wipes (even flushable ones), condoms, tampons, cotton swaps, medicine, food, and pet waste (even flushable litter) should not be flushed or put down the drain.
- Keep your drainfield in good condition. Plant only shallow-rooted, low-water-use plants on and near the drainfield. Keep cars and livestock off of your drainfield and make sure to never pave or park over it. This includes the reserve drainfield area that you (hopefully) have in case the drainfield ever needs replacing.
- Use safer products for household cleaning. Baking soda, castile soap and vinegar can tackle most of your cleaning needs. Check out these green cleaning recipes. Avoid using household products labeled with the words “Danger” or “Poison” to protect your septic system and your health.
- Avoid the use of septic tank additives. These are not proven effective and do not replace the need for regular maintenance.
- Conserve water. Remember the statement above that says pumping schedules depend on the amount of waste treated? All of the water that goes into your system goes through the tank for treatment. Less water means less treatment is needed.
Regular septic maintenance can save you money and protect the health of you and your family. Septic system care begins with you.