All living things create waste, humans included, and a septic system is the way we dispose of the waste that we create in our homes. There are many residential homes that don’t have access to a public sewer system. These residences must have a septic system installed. In these types of homes, the septic system is the backbone of the house. Without a healthy septic system, a residence is subject to the bad odors, germs, and diseases of waste that isn’t properly removed from the house.
A septic system is a complex system of drains, pipes, sinks, toilets, disposals, and other things that are connected to a running water supply. If something goes wrong, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the problem, so it is important to take steps to keep a healthy septic system so save yourself money and frustration. To keep your septic system happy and healthy, avoid actions that will harm your septic system such as:
Putting non-compostable items into your garbage disposal.
Non-compostable items can damage your garbage disposal as well as harm your septic system. These items won’t break down in your septic tank, so they will simply settle to the bottom and raise the sludge layer level in your tank. Be cautious of products that are labelled “biodegradable”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are compostable. If the product is labelled as “compostable”, “meets ASTM-D6400 standard”, or “BPI-certified” then it is safe for your septic system.
Pouring harsh chemicals down your drains.
Septic tanks contain healthy bacteria that breaks down the waste. Large amounts of harsh chemicals can kill the bacteria and this will cause a backup of your septic system which can lead to a flooded drain field and contamination of ground water.
Not getting regular septic system inspections.
The septic system in your home should, on average, be inspected every three years. Having your septic system inspected regularly can aid in prevention of problems with the system or point out small problems before they become big, expensive problems. If your septic tank has a float switch, a pressure transducer, or other mechanical parts, it may need to be inspected more frequently than every three years.
Planting trees or shrubs on or near your drain field.
Some tree roots aggressively seek out water sources. Pipes and septic tanks are fair game to trees. Roots, especially tree roots, are very strong and can puncture or break pipes. This can lead to a number of problems including backups, clogs, flooding, dirty water flowing into your home, and more. Trees and shrubs should be planted a minimum of 10 feet away from sewer lines and large trees should be planted a minimum of 20 feet away. A good rule of thumb is however tall the tree is, that is how many feet you should plant it away from sewer lines.
It is sometimes easy to forget how important a septic system is until the septic system isn’t working properly. Don’t wait for a problem to arise before giving attention to your septic system. Taking steps to maintain a healthy septic system is a lot easier than fixing problems from a neglected septic system.