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How often should I have the tank pumped?
How often you need to pump depends on the size of the tank, the number of people in the household, and the amount and type of solids. A septic tank should be inspected annually to check for needed repairs and pumped as needed, usually every 3 to 5 years.
How do I know if my system is failing?
The warning signs of a failing system are:
- Sewage surfacing over the drainfield.
- Lush, green growth or soggy areas over the drainfield.
- Slow or backed up drains, toilets or sinks.
- Sewage odours around the property.
Poor well water test results.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
Flush only human waste and toilet paper down the toilet—avoid flushing dental floss, cat litter (including “flushable” varieties), hair, Kleenex, cigarette butts, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, condoms, paper towels, static cling sheets, diapers, and disposable wipes. These items could clog your septic system components and cause a failure.
Should my sump pump be hooked into the septic tank?
No. A sump pump is installed to pump out any water that has entered a basement before it starts flooding the basement floor. Since good septic tank maintenance requires not overloading your septic system, you would want to avoid running excessive amounts of water through the system. The water flow from a sump pump should go out of the house through a discharge pipe that carries the water far away from the house to a field tile or storm sewer. Do not discharge the water onto a septic system drain field.
Will low flow appliances and water saving devices adversely affect my septic system?
Low flow appliances and water saving devices improve the functioning of your system as there is less water to dilute the waste, and the wastewater receives a longer treatment period in the septic system. Minimizing water use keeps solids settled on the bottom of the tank, improves the efficiency of your system and extends the life of the system.
Septic systems are designed to hold wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle to the bottom, forming a sludge layer and oils and greases to float to the top forming a scum layer. If too much water is flowing into the septic tank, wastewater is pushed out into the drainfield before settling and separating occurs. The solids will be pushed out into the drainfield and can cause clogged pipes which are expensive to fix. In addition, older septic systems were designed when people used less water. This means your septic system may be under capacity compared to today's standards. If your septic system is older, water conservation is especially important for you.
Can I park over my septic system?
No. Driving vehicles over the drainfield can crush the distribution pipes or compact the soil. Even off road vehicles can compact the soil around the pipes and reduce the life of your system.
It is important to maintain good ventilation and adequate sunlight in order to promote evaporation. Oxygen needs to be able to get into the soil to aid the bacteria responsible for digesting the wastewater as they need oxygen in order to survive and function. This means not constructing anything over the drainfield including parking areas, patios, above ground pools, decks, or any other structures.
I’ve heard I shouldn’t use a garbage disposal. Why is that?
Garbage disposals have a dramatic impact on how often you’ll need to pump your septic tank. Food particles usually are not digested by the bacteria and accumulate as scum. If a large amount of water enters the tank, it can then push the food particles into the drainfield, causing clogging. If you must use a garbage disposal, your tank will need to be pumped more frequently.
How can I prevent a septic failure?
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! If your system has been properly designed, sited, and installed, the rest is up to you. Inspect your system annually and pump as needed (usually every 3-5 years), avoid excess water use, and watch what you put down the drain and flush down the toilet.
I am selling my home? Do I need to have my septic system checked?
It is standard practice to have your septic tank pumped out before the new owner takes possession of the house. The purchaser may want to contact us to do an inspection of the system.
Why is it so important to have lids and risers installed on septic systems that currently have no visible access?
Lids and risers bring access to the tank up to or just above ground level depending on your preference. In most areas, regulations require risers on septic systems in order to pass inspection. Having lids and risers installed is well worth the initial cost involved since it will eliminate the time and expense of having someone locate and dig up the access to the tank for future pump outs. In our area, frozen or extremely hard ground can make pump outs very difficult and sometimes impossible, if you don't have lids at or above ground level. This means pumping the system will have to wait until weather and ground conditions permit. In problem situations where you need a pump out immediately, who has time to wait for weather or ground conditions to improve in order to get the tank pumped out?
Pumping some systems requires the use of a backhoe to gain access to the tank. This can quickly become very expensive and leave your lawn a mess. Since most people like to keep a well manicured lawn, with minimum upkeep, lids can be installed at ground level so there will be no need to trim around them. You can simply mow over them.
Trenchless Sewer Rehabilitation Specialists
MITI can help make your wastewater system work more effectively and efficiently by eliminating the unwanted inflow and infiltration and allowing your system to operate at its optimum capacity.
- Pipe Repair
- Chemical Grout Injection
- CCTV Inspection (Closed Circuit Video)