Though it is one of the most expensive assets of a home, most people don't pay any attention to their septic tank or drain field - for many it's out of sight, out of mind. This can be very costly, because typically by the time you actually start to see issues arise, the drain field is in the process of failing or has already failed. We love to teach home and business owners how to keep their septic system in good working order, for themselves - and the environment. Here are some practical ways you can help maintain your system to avoid future damage and costly repairs.
Regular Pumping of Septic Tank
The most important thing you can do you maintain your septic system is to make sure you have your tank pumped on a regular basis. It is recommended that a typical residential system should have the tank pumped every 3 years. Over time the top layer of FOG (fats, oils, and grease), and the bottom layer of sludge start to build up - causing less room for the middle layer of effluent (which is the only thing that should being going out to the drainfield). This ultimately gives the tank less time for the separation of the layers and instead, the FOG and sludge stay mixed with the effluent, and instead of just effluent - a whole variety of stuff goes out into your drain field. This is what most often causes a drain field to back up and fail.
Never Forget the Bacteria
Bacteria is the name of the game when it comes to a healthy septic tank. Without bacteria, there is nothing to eat away at the solids in the tank - which means that you would actually need to pump your tank out much more frequently. While all tanks have a naturally occurring bacteria, there are many things that can be put into the system which can break that bacteria down and even kill the colony all together; from water softeners, anti-bacterial cleaning agents, and even cancer fight drugs can all kill good bacteria very easily. Our safe, all natural BIO-PRO series of bacteria is made to survive the harshest environments to effectively break downs solids in your tank and keep your system healthy.
Avoid heavy Landscaping or Load Baring on Top of Your System
Drain fields rely on ****** stones and soil surrounding the system to allow proper percolation of the effluent back into the soil. Extensive landscaping of plants or trees that have deep roots can cause damage to the pipes and overall disruption to the system. If you choose to landscape near your drain field - it is best to stick with shallow-rooted flowers, grasses, and ground covers. These allow for an aesthetically pleasing yard without compromising your system. Excessive weight on top of your system can compact the stones and soil, which does not allow the drain field to "drain" effluent as it is intended. The best way to avoid compaction is to avoid driving or parking vehicles or any other heavy objects over top of or near your drain field.
Be mindful of your water usage
Each septic system is designed to take on a certain amount of water. If your system is consistently taking on more water than it was created to - you will most definitely start to see problems. The more water that goes into your septic tank - the less time that water has to be in your tank before it enters the drain field. This inhibits the ability of the system to properly separate the solids, effluent, and FOG, as well as not giving the bacteria time to do its job. This can cause material to enter the drain field which is not supposed to be there, thus causing major backups and ultimately total failure of the system.
A well maintained septic system can last a long time. If you have questions about proper maintenance or are wondering if your system is failing or has failed - contact us and we would love to talk you through it!