Nearly one in five U.S. homes have septic systems. Yours may be one of them. If you’re not properly maintaining your septic system, you’re not only hurting the environment, you’re putting your family’s health at risk—and may be flushing thousands of dollars down the drain!
Septic Tank Maintenance: The Do's and Don'ts of Your Septic System
Do Your Part, Be SepticSmart: The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Septic System. Learn these simple steps to protect your home, health, environment and property value:
Protect It and Inspect It:
- Have your system inspected (in general) every three years by a licensed contractor and have the tank pumped, when necessary, generally every three to five years.
Think at the Sink:
- Pour cooking grease or oil down the sink or toilet.
- Rinse coffee grounds into the sink.
- Pour household chemicals down the sink or flush them.
- Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal.
- Properly dispose of coffee grounds & food.
- Put grease in a container to harden before discarding in the trash.
Don’t Overload the Commode:
- Flush non-degradable products or chemicals, such as feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, diapers, cigarette butts, cat litter, paper towels, pharmaceuticals.
- Dispose of these items in the trash can!
Shield Your Field:
- Park or drive on your drainfield. The weight can damage the drain lines.
- Plant trees or shrubs too close to your drainfield, roots can grow into your system and clog it.
- Consult a septic service professional to advise you of the proper distance for planting trees and shrubs, depending on your septic tank location.
Don’t Strain Your Drain:
- Concentrate your water use by using your dishwasher, shower, washing machine, and toilet at the same time. All that extra water can really strain your septic system.
- Stagger the use of water-generating appliances. This can be helpful especially if your system has not been pumped in a long time.
- Become more water efficient by fixing plumbing leaks and consider installing bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators and water-efficient products.
For more SepticSmart tips, visit: www.epa.gov/septicsmart