Top Tips for Septic System Maintenance

If a septic system is not suitably located, properly designed, carefully installed, and adequately maintained, it can fail. It can also fail if solids clog it. Failing systems can threaten your family and neighbors' health, reduce the value of your property, and cost a lot of money to repair. They can also contaminate groundwater, lakes, or streams with bacteria, nitrates, viruses, chemicals and chlorides.

The following routine actions and common issues listed below will help you keep your septic system flowing smoothly and safely.

Septic System Care

Record Keeping Keep copies of all system drawings/plans of the site, installed equipment, and service records with all other home appliance documents. Record all applicable information.

Laundry/Water Usage

Spread wash loads throughout the week. Instead of liquid fabric softener, dryer sheets should be used. Use low-suds, biodegradable and low phosphate detergents.

Leaky Fixtures

Large quantities of water are added to your wastewater system when you have leaking fixtures. Timely detection and repair can help to maximize the life of your system, especially the drain field.

Food Wastes

Garbage disposal waste may lead to more frequent removal of solids from your septic tank. For large quantities of food, please dispose of in the garbage.

Fats, Oils, and Grease

Be aware of too much grease (i.e. animal fats, vegetable oils, lard, etc) down the drain may overload or prevent the bacteria from fully breaking down the waste.


Use citricacid, chlorine, and/or other biodegradable cleaners according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Products containing quaternary ammonia or pine-oil based cleaners should not be used. Use drain cleaners as a last resort to unclog pipes.

Floor Drains from Garage and Workrooms

Should be diverted away from your septic system. Items like petroleum-based oils, gas, and saw dust should never enter the system.


Do not flush them down any drain. All antibiotic medicines are harmful to treatment quality. Unused medications should be returned to the pharmacy, doctor, or thrown away in the trash.

Septic Tank Additives/Enzymes

The wastewater in the system contains all the required bacteria for proper operation. Additives are unnecessary; and may do more harm than good.

Paper Products

Use single- or double-ply, non-quilted, white toilet paper products. Some color dyes in the paper cannot be eaten by natural bacteria. Non-bleached paper (brown in color) takes longer to break down and can therefore increase your biosolids pump out frequency. Avoid flushing paper towels, napkins, wipes, or other thicker paper material.

Not sure of the status of your current septic system? Give us a call and we can come inspect your system. If it is fine, we will gladly tell you so. If it does need clean out or repairs, we will tell you what is needed and either we can do the work or you are welcome to get a second opinion.

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