Divert Rainwater Away From the Septic Drainfield
Don't Overload the Septic Tank and Drainfield
- A soggy drainfield won't absorb and neutralize liquid waste. Plan landscaping, roof gutters and foundation drains so that excess water is diverted away from the septic drainfield.
Keep Trees Away From the Septic System
- Check faucets and toilets for leaks; make repairs if necessary.
- Use aerators on faucets and flow reducer nozzles on showers to help lower water consumption.
- Reduce water levels for small loads of laundry.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.
- Reduce the amount of water used per flush by displacing some of the water in the toilet's tank.
The Toilet Isn't a Garbage Disposal
- Discourage root damage by keeping trees at least 100 feet away from the septic system.
- Trees with very aggressive roots, such as willows, should be even farther away from the system.
Use Garbage Disposals Wisely
- Never flush cat litter, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, paper towels, facial tissues, coffee grounds, or cigarette butts and filters.
- They'll clog your septic tank in less time than you might imagine.
Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners
- Garbage disposals can double the amount of solids added to a septic tank.
- Choose a top-line disposal that grinds food into tiny particles that are easier for a system to digest.
Do Not Pour Grease down the Drain
- Overuse of heavy cleaners kills beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, so solids won't break down as well.
Avoid Hazardous Chemicals
- Grease can clog the septic drainfield, making it impossible for soil to absorb liquids. If that happens you'll need a new drainfield.
Protect the System from Damage
- Varnish, paint thinners, motor oils, gasoline and other similar chemicals can ruin your system and are a hazard to groundwater. Dispose of them properly.
Perform Regular Maintenance
- Do not drive over the drainfield, build a structure on top of it, or cover it with concrete or asphalt.
- Do plant grass on the drainfield to minimize soil erosion.
- Solids must eventually be pumped from the tank. Many experts advise a family of four with a 1,000 gallon septic tank to have the tank pumped after 3-5 years of full time use. Other experts say you can go much longer between pumping operations.
- Never attempt to open a septic tank yourself. Gases and bacteria in it are dangerous.