By following a few simple rules, you won’t have to think about your system on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, with proper use, conventional onsite systems can operate for years without much management.
Maintenance begins with sound water use and waste disposal habits. Since your family will determine which materials enter the system, we encourage you to set rules and stick to them.
Do have an operation and monitoring contract with Dominion Septic, Inc.
Do divert surface runoff water from roofs, patios, driveways, and other areas away from the absorption field and tanks
Conserve water to reduce the amount of wastewater that must be treated and disposed
Repair any leaking faucets and toilets
Only discharge biodegradable wastes into system
Restrict garbage disposal use
Keep your septic tank cover accessible for tank inspections and pumping
Have your septic tank pumped regularly and checked for leaks and cracks
Call when you have problems
Compost your garbage or put it in the trash
Do not drive over the absorption field with cars, trucks, or heavy equipment
Do not plant trees or shrubbery in the absorption field area, because the roots can clog the lines
Do not cover the absorption field with hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Grass is the best cover, because it will help prevent erosion and help remove excess water
Do not connect the water softener back-flush discharge to the septic system
Do not connect the sump pump/basement floor drain to the septic system
Do not install irrigation over or around the absorption field
Do not connect air conditioner condensation drain to septic system
Homeowners wanting to take good care of their septic systems should make note of the following items that should never be flushed down the drain or toilet. These items can overtax or destroy the biological digestion taking place within the system or clog pumps and pipes. Remember, if it has not been through your body’s digestive system, it shouldn’t go in the septic tank!
The following examples are only a few items NOT to flush:
Gauze Bandages / Band-Aids
NEVER flush chemicals that could destroy the life of your system, such as:
Guidelines for a Healthy Septic System
By following a few simple rules, you won’t have to think about your system on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, with proper use, conventional onsite systems can operate for years without much management. Maintenance begins with sound water use and waste disposal habits. Since your family will determine which materials enter the system, we encourage you to set rules and stick to them. Many homes have garbage disposals to help manage vegetable and other food waste. Excessive use of your garbage disposal will introduce a high level of unwanted solids into your system. Use disposals sparingly and consider composting as an option to handle vegetable waste.
If you own a septic system, it is important that it be properly maintained. How often you need to pump the solids out of your septic tank depends on three major factors:
The number of people in your household
The amount of wastewater generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used)
The volume of solids in the wastewater (e.g., using a garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids, garbage disposals are NOT recommended)
As part of an O&M contract, we will measure sludge and scum layers to determine if pump out is needed. Do not put too much water into the septic system. Excess water puts too much strain on the decomposition process and can cause problems. Maximum water use is 75 gallons per day for each person in the family. Estimate by using the following numbers per person so you can keep track:
Shower: 2.5 gallons per minute – 10 minute shower = 25 gallons
Toilet: 2 gallons per flush (for toilets bought in the last 20 years)
Washing machine: 40 gallons per load
Dishwasher cycle: 10 gallons
With large families, keeping track of water use can be hard. But laying down guidelines can help everyone do their part. Also consider getting energy and water-wise appliances when you need to replace your current models. Visit Energy Star for suggestions.
Be aware that your system is sized to handle the number of people anticipated to be using it when it is installed. If that number increases, you may need a larger or more sophisticated pretreatment system.
Do not use harsh drain openers for a clogged drain. The best alternative to conventional, caustic drain openers is to use boiling water or a drain snake to clear clogs. Though this approach may be a little messier, the chemicals in drain cleaners can cause havoc with your septic system. Use mild or natural cleaners for your bathroom and kitchen. They should either be okayed for use in septic systems or marked biodegradable. Be aware that bleaches and antibacterial soaps can inhibit the enzymatic action necessary to help bacteria break down the solids in the tank. Again, harsh chemicals can cause expensive and unpleasant problems in your system.
If you use or intend to use a water softener in the home, let your installer or maintenance contractor know. Under certain soil conditions, the salt recharge solution must be handled carefully and the size of your absorption field may need to be increased. We highly recommend NOT connecting your water softener backwash to the septic tank. Have the sludge and scum layer measured to determine if a pump-out is required.
Remember, more sophisticated systems may require additional maintenance. So always ask your maintenance provider for details. — NOWRA
Have your AOSE provide you with a completion statement and an “As Built” drawing (to scale) that shows the location of your tank and drain field in relation to your home. This will help guide your service provider should any repairs be necessary. You’ll also need a diagram of your septic system when you are considering any home renovations, landscaping projects, or new parking places and driveways.
Not very often. An average family of four living in a three-bedroom house will need their tank pumped every three to five years under normal usage. If your installer is a licensed septic contractor in the area, he should know exact guidelines for your home, usage and locality. Or you can check with your county health department. If there are no major changes in your household and your usage is stable, you may want to consider a regular pumping schedule for best results with the least worry.
This is never advisable and is against most municipal codes. Do not build any additions, pools, driveways over a tank. Also, do not build or plant trees on top of your drain field.
NO! Though septic systems are safe for your family, opening the septic tank without professional training can expose you to dangerous gases and bacteria. Call a certified and trained septic professional if you detect any problems in your system.
-NOWRA & Dominion Septic