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Preventive Maintenance

What can I do to help maintain my Septic System?

The biggest problem facing a septic system is the soil's ability to drain or leach the water. If there is too much solid matter getting into the drain fields they can clog and cause plumbing and yard problems. There are simple steps that you can take to help reduce the chances of clogging the drain fields.

• Filter the Lint

Washing machine filters can reduce the amount of lint that is washed into the main cesspool. Because the lint is so small and light it will stay in suspension in the tank and get flushed into the drain field. Since there is so much synthetic material in our clothing, the lint is often not biodegradable, adding to the problem of clogging the soil. Lint screens and nylon socks are not very effective – they typically only stop about 5% of the lint. Inline, reusable filters can be attached to your washing machine drain hose to trap most of the lint that is in the wash and rinse water.

• Reduce the amount of water you put into the system.

Washing machines, showers and baths, and dishwashers all add large amounts of water to the system in a short span of time. Too much water can flood the system and flush solid materials out of the tank before they have a chance to settle to the bottom. Instead of washing all of your laundry in a single day, which can put as much as 600 gallons of water into the system, try a load or two every day. Don’t run the dishwasher and laundry at the same time of day and try to spread out the showers and baths. If some of the cleaning is done in the morning and some is done in the evening, the system has a better chance of stabilizing between the water additions.

• Don’t use a garbage disposal.

Garbage disposals can double the amount of solids added to the tank. Scrape dirty plates into the trash rather than trying to wash it down the drain. Save the peels from your vegetables and start a compost pile so that your drain field and your plants all benefit. Just remember not to build it in the absorption field!

• Divert water runoff from roofs, patios and driveways away from the drain field.

• Don’t pour oils, paint, pesticides, poisons or solvents down the drain. This will harm the bacteria and cause groundwater contamination as well.

• Only discharge biodegradable wastes into system.

• Have your septic tank pumped regularly. It should also be inspected for leaks, cracks, and to make sure the exit baffle is in place.