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In honor of the EPA’s SepticSmart week, and in everything we do, we make homeowner education a priority. We want you to understand the facts about your septic system, smart water use, and what can cause issues with your tank and drainfield. While you can find a wealth of articles and resources on our website and the Crews Environmental blog, we wanted to make sure that you knew some of the less popular septic system facts.
Here are 5 things you may not have known about your septic system:
- Pumping your septic tank doesn’t necessarily fix problems.
While it’s extremely important to have your septic system pumped at least every 3 years, you want to make sure that you understand your septic system is much more than just your tank. If your septic system has suffered any amount of neglect, you should have a septic system inspection performed by a professional to verify that there hasn’t been damage to your drainfield and that everything is working properly.
- The average lifespan for a septic system is between 20-30 years.
Some systems have lasted up to 50 years and those that haven’t been maintained have lasted as little as a year. With the standard lifespan being so long, you may think that you have nothing to worry about. But if you purchased a home with an existing system, it’s important to understand how old the system is and how well it has been maintained to determine the lifespan of the system. While a well-maintained system may last as long as 30 years, the same cannot be said for a poorly maintained or constructed system. Learn more about point of sale septic inspections for real estate transactions.
- Chemical additives can be detrimental to your septic system
Chemical septic system additives that claim to be helpful can actually diminish the levels of bacteria in your tank. Healthy bacteria levels must be maintained to ensure the proper biological breakdown of solid waste that comes into your septic tank. Even those additives that claim to replenish healthy bacteria are not necessarily effective.
- Septic tanks have a natural operating level and should always be “full” to that level.
We often get the question – why is my septic tank “full” if I just had it pumped? This is a very common misconception among homeowners. Septic Tanks have a natural operating level. Be sure that your septic tank contractor educates you on what the operating level is for your home so that you can troubleshoot to determine when it needs to be pumped or when the drainfield pipes are experiencing clogs or other issues.
- Homes that use septic systems shouldn’t have a garbage disposal.
We talk about this all the time with homeowners – never put harsh chemicals, food solids, or anything other than wastewater down the drain of your sink. This can lead to your tank requiring more frequent pumping. While it isn’t exactly prohibited for septic system homeowners to avoid garbage disposals, it’s generally a best practice to put food solids into the trash or compost rather than putting them down your drain. Even food particles processed by a garbage disposal can cause issues with your tank filling too quickly.
Take the time to be as diligent as possible when it comes to educating yourself as a septic system owner. You want to be sure that you are informed so that when issues arise you can take the right actions for the health of your family, our environment and your real estate investment.
For more information about septic tank pumpouts or to schedule an inspections, contact Crews Environmental.