Protect and Inspect
Keep a drawing of your septic system.
Call a licensed septic tank cleaning service to inspect your septic system every 2 years.
Pump your tank every 3–5 years.
Beware of the “Quick Fix.” Commercial chemicals that claim to clean septic tanks convert human waste into liquid which moves quickly to the drain field. This sends more nutrients through the ground and into your drinking water.
“Mind the Signs” of a failing septic system:
- Wastewater backing up into household drains/ toilets
- Strong odors around the septic tank and drain field
- Bright green, spongy grass growing on the drain field
- Green algae growing on the rocks in front of your cottage
Think at the Sink
Good bacteria in your septic system breaks down human waste. Pouring toxic chemicals such as oil–based paints, solvents and large volumes of cleaners down the drain can kill these good bacteria and cause your system to stop working.
Grease and oil also clog the system and can cause backups. Drain grease from pans into a jar and wipe your pans with a paper towel before washing them with water at the sink.
Consider eliminating or limiting the use of garbage disposals. They significantly increase the sludge and scum in septic tanks, resulting in the need for MORE FREQUENT pumping.
Toilets aren’t Trash Cans
Septic systems are designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, ONLY!
Never flush these things down the toilet:
- Cloggers – diapers, cat litter, cigarette filters, coffee grounds, grease, feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, matches
- Killers – household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, paint, medicines– over the counter & prescriptions
Download and print our Septic System Toilet Signs (.pdf)
Don’t Strain the Drain
The less water you use, the less water enters the septic tank.
The less water in the septic tank, the less it has to work.
Reduce Water Use – Convert to low flow toilets and faucets. Run full loads in the dishwasher. Space out use of the washing machine throughout the week.
Unclogging a drain – Instead of using chemicals to unclog a drain, use a snake or hot water.
Hot tubs – Drain hot tubs onto your lawn or landscaped areas far away from your septic tank and drain field. Emptying a hot tub into the septic system stirs the solids in the tank, pushes them into the drain field, causing it to clog and fail.
Water softeners & water purification systems – Make sure it is septic system compatible. Consult with a licensed plumber for alternative routing to avoid pumping excess water into the septic system.
Shield your Field
DO NOT park or drive on your drain field.
DO NOT grow vegetables or fruit on a drain field. Grow grass instead.
Keep trees and shrubs far away from drain lines and drain field pipes.