Maintaining Your Septic Tank and Pump

The septic tank and pump are the two key elements of your home’s wastewater system. When used as directed, a septic system is an effective, long-lasting solution to waste disposal. But if it’s not maintained properly, the system can clog and fail to remove waste, resulting in costly repairs and a messy home environment.

What is the safest way to clean drains?

A septic tank is a large, underground container that holds household waste and allows solids to settle down while fats, oils, and greases float to the top. The liquid side of the tank, called effluent, then makes its way into a drain field composed of perforated pipes that allow water to slowly seep into the soil and be naturally filtered.

As a homeowner, you have several choices for your septic tank: concrete, fiberglass, or plastic tanks are available and all work well. If you choose a concrete tank, be sure it’s made from reinforced or prestressed concrete for longevity and durability.

If you opt for a fiberglass or plastic tank, it is essential to choose the right size for your home occupancy and water use. Households with multiple bathrooms and more people tend to fill their septic tank faster than households with fewer bathrooms.

Avoid adding septic tank additives, which have no scientific support and can actually re-suspend solids, moving them into the dispersal system and clogging it. Instead, have your septic tank pumped every three to five years. Know where your tank is located, so you can easily find it when it’s time for a pumping. Keep a diagram of its location, or a map, and include it with your septic tank records. Also, keep down spouts and other surface water, including irrigation sprinklers, away from the drain field to prevent excessive watering that can harm it.