Tag Archives: Maintenance

A Guide to Basic Maintenance on Septic Systems

Part of being a homeowner is maintenance. Unfortunately a lot of homeowners forget about the maintenance on their septic systems. Here in Wisconsin, homeowners are reminded every 3 years to have their system pumped and inspected. But what can be done between pumpings to keep the septic system in good shape?  Here are some tips:

Beware of excessive water use or leaky fixtures. The more the system has to work to keep up with a home’s usage, the quicker it will need attention.

Some clean-water source hookups, such as the sump-pump, can be routed away from the septic. But make sure it doesn’t dispense near the drainfield, adding unnecessary saturation to that area.  Keep down-spouts away from this area as well.

Be aware of improper landscaping around the tanks and drainfield.  Contact a local knowledgeable landscaper and/or septic service company for suggestions on this.

Avoid excessive use of anti-bacterial cleaners and strong chemicals that find their way down the lines in the sinks, tubs, and toilets.  These affect the healthy bacteria in the septic system that it needs in order to do its job.  And also realize that medications affect the septic system too.  Using a bacterial additive for the system can be very beneficial in these situations.

Keep up with regular maintenance by a licensed pumper. They should be emptying the tanks and looking over all the components, including the drainfield or mound, to make sure all looks good.

 

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.