Do a little (septic system maintenance) to save a lot!

By Mike Ekberg, manager for water resources monitoring and analysis

If you could spend less than $100 a year to avoid a $7,000 home repair expense, you’d do it wouldn’t you?

Consider this: It only costs about $250 to $500 every three to five years to maintain a septic system. But it can cost up to $7,000 or more to repair or replace it. Plus, a poorly maintained septic system can contaminate groundwater/drinking water and spread disease.

You can’t put a price on the health and safety of your family.

What is a septic system?
Septic systems are highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment systems. They are commonly found in rural areas and often consist of a septic tank and a drainfield.

Do you have a septic system? You probably do if:

  • You use well water.
  • The water line coming into your home does not have a meter.
  • Your neighbors have a septic system.

Septic Smart Week
Septic Smart Week is Sept. 14-18. It’s a good time to have your system maintained and review ways to keep your system working well.

Maintain your septic system
Inspect and pump regularly
In general, your septic system should be inspected every one to three years and pumped every three to five years by a certified septic system professional.

Use water efficiently to avoid overloading the system
Consider using high-efficiency toilets and showerheads. When using the washing machine, be sure to select the proper load size to avoid using more water than needed.

Flush with care. Don’t flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper. Never flush:

  • Paints
  • Chemicals
  • Medications
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Dental floss

Take care at the drain.

  • Never pour cooking oil or grease down the drain.
  • Never pour oil-based paints or solvents down the drain.
  • Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal.
  • Never park or drive on your drainfield.
  • Plant trees an appropriate distance from your drainfield. A septic service professional can help you with the property distance.
  • Keep roof drains, sump pumps and other rainwater drainage systems away from your drainfield areas. Excess water can slow or stop the wastewater treatment process.
  • View these SepticSmart Week Quick Tip videos on the importance of properly using and maintaining your septic system.

Information for this blogpost was taken directly from the Environmental Protection Agency’s “A Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems”