You are on your way to building your new home and will have a septic tank. If you haven’t had a septic tank before, this article will help you understand what a septic is, what you should and shouldn’t do, and tips for when complications arise. You also can find a wide variety of information with a quick google search if you find that you want more knowledge before you take ownership of your home.

What is a Septic tank?

A septic tank is an underground engineered tank consisting of single or multiple units, together with one or more connecting piping systems to receive wastewater flow from your residence. The primary device in treatment is the tank, an enclosed watertight container that collects and provides primary treatment of wastewater. The tank allows settleable solids to settle to the bottom, while floatable solids (oil and greases) rise to the top. Up to 50 percent of the solids retained in the tank decompose, while the remainder accumulate as sludge at the tank bottom and must be removed periodically by pumping the tank.

Now that you have a high-level understanding of what a septic tank is, let’s look at some things you should and shouldn’t do.

Do’s:

  • Use water efficiently.
    • By using high-efficiency toilets you have less water entering your septic system. This improves the efficiency of the system and reduces the risk of needing septic tank service or repairs due to a septic system failure.
    • Wash clothes throughout the week rather than all in one day. This can help with the demand on your tank and avoid a chance of overflowing.
  • Have maintenance done to ensure proper function. Inspect and Pump frequently (per EPA this should be done every three to five years).
  • Listen for signs that your septic is communicating with you.
    • Gurgling sounds in your pipes, toilets, and sinks.
    • Slow clearing of water in your drains or toilets.
    • Soggy ground, standing water around your drainfield.

Don’t

  • Use your toilet as a trash can. Don’t flush anything other than waste and toilet paper.
  • Never park or drive on your drainfield.
  • Don’t plant trees or deep-rooted bushes close to your septic tank.

Complications

If you are staying on top of your Do’s and Do Not’s for your septic system and see or smell things that don’t look right you will want to call a company that specializes in problem solving and maintenance of septic systems. An early detection of an issue can be the difference in how much work it will be to salvage your system if the need arises.