We Know: All About Septic Systems

What is a septic system?

When it's not possible to install a sewage system, the common alternative is a septic system. A septic system is a tank into which the household waste is pumped. Bacteria in the septic system breaks down the solid wastes into gas and liquid. When the level of waste within the tank reaches the outflow pipe, the waste is distributed into the drain field through a series of pipes. The waste is then leached into the soil where it's absorbed.

How to Maintain a Septic System

Most experts agree that adding enzymes or bacteria into the septic system doesn't help. To keep your septic system in top shape, follow these tips:

  • Avoid clogging the system. Don't flush anything down the toilet besides human waste or toilet paper, including grease, and don't use a garbage disposal.
  • Preserve the system's chemical balance. Harsh chemicals like bleach can destroy the natural bacteria that helps the system to work correctly.
  • Don't overwhelm the septic system. Avoid doing multiple loads of laundry or draining excessive amounts of water in a short period. Even small amounts of water, if it's constant as with leaking toilets, etc. will tax the septic system.
  • Protect the drain field Don't build or store heavy items above the drain field because the weight may compress the soil or damage the buried pipes. Don't allow water to pool above the field either.
  • Pump the system out. Depending on the amount of usage and the size of your septic system, it will need the solid waste pumped out on a periodic basis which can be annually to every five years.

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