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Adapted from article written by James Carey and Morris Carey

Following a few simple rules should help to make your septic system trouble-free for many years. But don't forget that the septic tank does need to be cleaned out (pumped) when too many solids build up (every 3 to 5 years depending on use).

Be mindful about what you and your family put into your septic system. It doesn't take much to upset the delicate biological balance within the tank. You can extend the life of a septic system by watching everything that's introduced to the system.


Keep in mind the following recommendations:

  • Try to limit the amount of non-biodegradable matter going down the drain to the septic tank. Flushing non-biodegradable matter will fill your tank with solids and increase pumping requirements. Don't deposit coffee grounds, cooking fats, wet-strength towels, wet wipes, disposable diapers, facial tissues, cigarette butts, and other non-decomposable materials into the house sewer.
  • Too much water can upset the delicate biological balance within the tank, defeating its ability to work properly.
  • Don't use excessive amounts of any household chemicals which could kill the biology necessary for a properly functioning septic tank.
  • Use a toilet tissue that breaks up easily when wet and is noted as "septic safe"€
  • Avoid dumping grease down the drain. Keep a separate container for waste grease and throw it out with the garbage.
  • Pump your septic tank when accumulated solids get too deep and/or the floating scum layer gets too thick.

You need to have your septic tank inspected by a professional every one to three years and pumped as needed. How often you need to have your septic tank pumped also depends on the size of the tank, the volume of wastewater, and how many solids go into it. Constant foul odor, slow drains, and drains that back up are all telltale signs that your septic tank needs pumping. When in doubt, call in a septic pro.

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