The septic tank whether it operates alone or in connection with a treatment system requires an inspection at least every two years and on average should be pumped every 3-4 years. Visual inspections will indicate when the sludge in the tank is approaching 1/3 full in the first compartment. If sludge in this compartment is greater than 1/3 it needs to be removed to prevent suspended solids from leaving this tank and potentially causing problems further on in the treatment process. This is the time to call to have your septic system pumped. Never enter a septic tank for any reason. Noxious gases are present which are heavier than oxygen. Death may result to anyone who comes in contact with these fumes. Keep water use reasonable. Use appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines that incorporate water conservation in their design. Use water conserving showers heads and low flow toilets. Ensure your taps, toilets etc are not leaking water which will unnecessarily fill up the septic tank. Minimize the use of spas and hot tubs as they contain large volumes of water that may flush solids out of the septic tank. Food waste disposals are not recommended for septic tanks as larger solids are deposited into the septic and do not deteriorate into sludge.
A septic tank is not a garbage disposal. Keep the following items out of the septic tank:
Water softener backwash
Pesticides or herbicides
Sump pump discharge
Grease, cooking fats and oils
Pumped foundation drainage
Industrial cleaners, ie Lye
Palm oil, large volumes of olive oil
Excessive use of hair gels, conditioners, anti dandruff
Sanitary pads and tampons or medicated shampoos
Carpet or upholstery cleaners
Expired or unused medications
Bandages, cotton swabs
Detergents with dry bleach crystals
All persons undergoing any form of medical radiation treatments or possessing any forms of irregular immune system response will affect the health of a septic tank.
Signs of Septic System Failure:
– water and sewage from toilets, drains and sinks are backing up into the home
– bathtub, showers and sinks drain very slowly -gurgling sounds in plumbing system
-standing water or damp spots near septic tank or septic fields
-bad odours around the septic tank and septic fields
-bright green, spongy lush grass over the septic tank and septic field
-algal bloom in nearby ponds or lakes
-high levels of nitrates or coliform bacteria in water well.
Minor septic system issues can turn into big costly problems. Fixing minor problems and paying maintenance fees of a few hundred dollars every few years is a bargain compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a malfunctioning system.