Basic Septic Maintenance-Part 2
Here are some of the basics for maintaining your septic system.
First, you will need to know where your septic system is, and how to access it. Many modern septic tanks have risers built in during construction, or added at some point during an inspection. These allow p inspectors to access the tank and filters without having to search for the access point in the tanks. Having these risers will greatly reduce both the cost and time of an inspection or repair. If you do not have risers, seriously consider having them installed, and keep an accurate location map of the septic tanks until you do. Without an accurate location of the tank, an inspector will literally have to dig and search until the tanks are found, which is costly.
Now that you know where your tanks are, you should know how to check the filter and and determine if you need to get it pumped soon. The filter is located in the outlet pipe in the septic tank. While we recommend having this cleaned by a professional, you should be able to pull it out and shake it off, removing a lot of the debris. Be sure to use rubber gloves when doing this, as it has untreated waste on it. Replace the filter after and be sure it is seated properly so it will work properly. You should also note if there are things floating in the tank. You should never flush anything that is not specifically designed for use in septic systems. If an item does not say “flushable” on the package, make sure it makes it into the trash can!
You should also keep track of the drain field, which is where liquids are drained into the soil once all the solids are collected in the tank. If you see there is standing water over the drain field, the grass is growing far more lush than elsewhere on the lawn, or there is a strange odor, there is possibly a blockage or some other problem with your system. You should have a septic professional inspect the field and discuss how to get it fixed. Do not wait until sewage is flowing into the house before calling!
One thing many people who have septic systems forget is that you should not drive vehicles over or build heavy structures over the septic system and field. Your septic system is made of pipes and chambers which have a significant amount of open air in them to help bacteria process waste. Driving heavy vehicles over these areas, or building heavy structures over them will put unnecessary stress on the system and possibly cause it to collapse. This will lead to a very costly repair or replacement of the system.
Along with driving or building over your septic, planting deep-rooting plants or trees around the system should be avoided. While you may not see any immediate problems, as these plants and trees grow, the roots can work their way into the septic system and crack the pipes or septic tanks, clogging the drainfield and possibly collapse parts of the system should the tree or bush grow too large! Be sure anything planted over the septic system has shallow roots and does not grow too large in size. Not only will it prevent problems and reduce stress on system but it will make any future service calls far easier to perform.
Stay tuned for our last installment in maintaining your septic system.
Visit www.allclearseptic.com for all the information you need or call 508-763-4431