Septic Tank Maintenance: How to Care for Your Septic Tank System
The average UK home produces over 85,000 gallons of wastewater every year. That’s 250 to 300 gallons per day. Having a septic tank helps filter this wastewater, separating the scum and solids before pretreating the wastewater and draining it through a drainage field. This whole process takes 24 to 48 hours and requires a septic tank that is well maintained able to deal with hundreds of gallons of water every day.
A septic tank system that is poorly maintained will fail, causing extensive ground and surface water pollution – a problem that is extremely costly, both to the environment and your health. Therefore, understanding the proper maintenance techniques to keep your septic tank working is incredibly important. In this article we will look at septic tank maintenance and explore what steps you can take to ensure your septic tank works effectively and lasts for many years to come.
How Often to Pump Your Septic Tank
You should have your septic tank emptied once a year. However, this does depend on the size of your tank and the number of people living in your property. There are four major factors that can influence the frequency of septic tank pumping:
- Household size
- Septic tank size
- Volume of solids in wastewater
- Total wastewater generated
If your septic tank is servicing a house full of people, it will need emptying out more regularly than once a year, however this is something we can advise you on.
Check for Signs of Damage
To maintain your septic tank properly, it is important to periodically check your system for signs of damage. Be sure to thoroughly inspect your septic tank for any signs of system failure, these would include:
- Bad odours
- Surfacing sewage
- Wet spots or standing water around the septic tank
- Lush vegetation growth or especially green grass around the tank
- Slow draining fixtures
- Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system
If you spot any problems like these, it is essential you call our team straight away. Signs of damage mean that your septic tank is not working properly and it may be causing damage to your health or the environment. So, the extent of the damage will need to be assessed by our professionals as soon as possible so that a repair or replacement can be carried out.
Keep Accurate Records of All Maintenance
One of the most important things you can do is keep a record of any septic tank maintenance you have carried out. Not only does this make future owners of the tank aware of the maintenance that has been carried out in the past, but it also helps you remember what maintenance has been carried out and what still needs to be done. We recommend keeping this record of maintenance in your house, somewhere safe, so that you can access it easily when you need it.
Keep Traffic Off Your Drain Field
Parking cars or driving heavy equipment on your drain field can compact the soil, damaging the system pipes. Do not plant a garden or construct a building on or near a septic tank system. If you want to plant trees near your septic tank system, it is important to keep roots from growing into the system. At Coastal Drains, we have drainage experts who can advise you of the proper tree planting distance, depending on the size of your septic tank and the landscape of your property.
Use Water Efficiently
The average indoor water use for a typical family home is around 70 gallons per person, per day. Having a leak, such as a running toilet, can waste up to 200 gallons of water every day, not only causing significant expense but also overloading your septic tank system. All of the water from a household ends up in your septic tank system, so using water efficiently will reduce the risk of system overload and subsequent failure. There are many easy ways to use water efficiently, including:
Installing faucet aerators and high-efficiency showerheads
High-efficiency toilets that are designed to use less water
Use your washing machine and other appliances sparingly.
Properly Dispose of Household Waste
Flushing household waste down the toilet or pouring it down the sink is detrimental to your septic tank system. Your septic tank is not a rubbish bin and foreign items will clog up the pipes, causing sewage overflow and a number of other serious problems. Everything you put down the drain has an effect on how your septic system works. Do not flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down your toilet. Never flush:
- Paper towels
- Sanitary products
- Cooking grease or oil
- Non-flushable wet wipes
- Dental floss
- Coffee grounds
- Cat litter
- Household chemicals like paint or pesticides.
Do Not Use Chemical Cleaners
Your septic tank system is full of living organisms and ‘good’ bacteria that help to treat and break down your household waste. Pouring chemicals and other toxins down your drains can kill their organisms, harming your septic system. So, whether you are cleaning your bathroom, kitchen, or utility sink:
- Avoid chemical drain cleaners, opting for natural drain cleaning methods and products instead.
- Eliminate or limit the use of a rubbish disposal so that you can reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids entering your septic tank and clogging the drain field.
Why Septic Tank Maintenance is Important
Septic tanks are very delicate systems and they need proper maintenance in order to stay healthy and work properly. Replacing a septic tank can be expensive, so proper maintenance is an important part of keeping your system up and running. The more effectively you care for your septic tank and the more proactive you are, the longer your septic tank will last. Carrying out the proper maintenance is not difficult, all it takes is a little bit of forward planning.
We have a team of drainage experts at Coastal Drains who are here to help. So, if you need help because you can’t maintain your septic tank alone, give us a call. We are more than happy to provide maintenance services, water jetting, and repairs for our customers. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today.