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Septic System Myths

Myth: “My neighbor/ friend/ etc. hasn’t had their septic pumped in 20 years! I don’t need to have mine pumped so often.”

Fact: These are VERY rare cases, when all conditions are perfect. Just because their system has had such good fortune, doesn’t mean yours will! Good maintenance is to pump every 1-3 years and add bacteria for a safe and problem free system. The State of Wisconsin does require pumping every 3 years.

Myth: Adding yeast to the septic will help prevent problems.

Fact: While yeast does help to break down a small percentage of waste (starches only), it will not help with the majority. In addition, it does not actually produce good bacteria, which aids in the liquefying process. So yeast may help in a small way, but is generally not worth the effort.

What causes odor in the “house” that smells like my septic tank?

  • Your roof vent that vents your plumbing could become plugged with leaves, debris, or snow in the winter. Check to see if it is clear.
  • Check your vent(s) on your drainfield for your septic system. Be sure they are free from plants, leaves, debris or snow.
  • Take a look at all your sinks and drains in the house and be sure to run water through them periodically, especially if they are not used often. The water that settles in the traps can evaporate and allow odors to come through.
  • OR you could have a septic system problem! If you have tried the above mentioned things, call us to check out your septic system!

How to Conserve Water

  • Repair leaky faucets. Just one leaky faucet can waste up to 4,000 gallons of water per month.
  • When buying a new shower head, toilet, washing machine or dishwasher, look for models that conserve on water use. 
  • Run FULL loads when running the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Use a toilet displacement device, such as a weighted plastic jug, to save up to 7 gallons per flush. 
  • Turn off water while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Peel and clean vegetables or fruit in a large bowl of water instead of running the faucet. You could save 10-15 gallons of water!
  • Install faucet aerators. They can reduce water to up to 60% without sacrificing a strong flow.

Winter Tips for Your Septic Tank

  • Make sure to keep snowplows away from your tank and drainfield. The plows can compact soil or dig up the area around your system and cause damage.
  • When the temperatures drop, you may be concerned about your tank freezing. Completely avoid adding anti-freeze or any other chemicals that could harm the balance of bacteria in the tank. If your septic is used regularly throughout winter months, it will in most cases create enough heat to stay thawed. Although if we have a winter with very little snow cover to act as an insulator, it is wise to throw loose hay/straw or insulation around manhole covers and even the drainfield area or mound. Insulated covers are also available to protect against freezing.
  • If you tend to be away for long amounts of time in the winter, make sure your caretaker is aware of where the septic system is located in case of emergency.

Does toilet paper harm my septic system?

The answer is:  The softer the toilet paper the more chemicals were used to make it soft. These chemicals can be harmful to your system’s biological activity, just like anti-bacterial soaps and other harsh chemicals are. Pick a brand of toilet paper that is in-between for softness. Look for a brand that is “Septic Safe”. These brands are normally made with fewer chemicals and are better for your septic system.