Septic tank maintenance

July, 2011:

Septic Maintenance Schedule Guide

A guide to septic tank maintenance designed to prolong the life of septic tank, cesspit, sand mound, leach field, lateral line and raised mound septic systems. Adjust this schedule to suit your own needs and remember to maintain your system with monthy doses of bacteria and enzymes.


1) Keep alert for smells or odors permeating from your yard or within the home. Pressures within the septic system can allow gases to escape through drainage areas or past pea traps under sinks.

2) Keep alert for leaks within the property. Slow leaks can destroy the drainage permeability within just a few months if not corrected. A slow leaking toilet or faucet and add several gallons per day to your system which will cause undue stress on the drainage capability.

3) Visually note any subtle changes in foliage color or density surrounding your drainage areas and septic tank. Greener grass does not mean that the system is malfunctioning but what is important is what changes are occurring abnormally.


1) Walk the entire septic system area. Inspect for erosion, odors, wet spots or any changes in foliage growth or coloring. Check for depressed or lower areas where soil compaction may have created a valley effect. Correct any issues per code with the addition of soil to reestablish proper drainage area terrain.

2) Perform a thorough inspection for leakage within the property. When it is certain that no water is flowing within the property, listen closely at the cleanout or mainline for trickling sounds. Water movement during times of non-use may mean that a leak is present somewhere upstream of the septic system or you may have backflow coming into the tank from the filed or lateral line area. Make any repairs as quickly as possible to avoid undue stress on the system.


1) Have the system internally inspected by a septic professional. This inspection will check the structural integrity of the tank or pit system and will provide useful flow feedback. The inspector will check all mechanical components of the system include aeration units, floats, baffles and pumps to assure all are functioning properly. The inspector will concur with your regular maintenance findings and a better understanding of pump-out frequency requirement can be achieved.


Utilize low flow faucets and shower fixtures. Conserve water and limit laundry and dishwasher use to full loads only. Be conscientious of your household water use and actively conserve where possible. Be aware that certain household cleaners can be devastating to the healthy bacteria so crucial to your systems performance. Try using green type products that are less offensive to the colony life which you system depends on to effectively break down and process waste. Utilize the world’s strongest septic additive to maintain and clean your entire system as an ongoing maintenance.

Septic Tank Maintenance

As with any technology, phasing out the older septic tank maintenance techniques to make way for the new always takes a bit of time. The technology of septic systems has improved drastically over the last century still many of us rely on the older design septic system to eliminate our ongoing waste. Luckily, maintaining your septic system is a lot easier that you may think and it does not have to put a drain on your finances.

Correct installation, overall system design and ongoing maintenance performed on your septic system will greatly extend the life and functionality of your homes onsite wastewater treatment center. Following theses prudent maintenance guidelines will be your first line of defense against overall system failure, odors, wet spots, gurgling sounds and early component breakage. Regular and frequent septic tank maintenance will help reduce the risk of well water contamination and can save you tens of thousands of dollars in potential repair costs.

In most septic systems, wastewater from toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, floor drains and basins flows through a maze of piping out to your tank or pit. The tank is usually constructed of cement or plastic in newer systems with either perforations within the tank itself or in lateral or field lines on the outflow side of the septic. As solids enter the system, they settle to the bottom of the septic while bacteria and enzymes decompose the material into water and gases. Fats, oils and grease float to the top of the tank and form a scum layer which generally breaks down more slowly. Restrictors or baffles prevent the scum layer from leaving the tank and clogging the drainage areas. The tank or pit will normally have access ports consisting of covers or clean out lines. Septic system pumpers remove undigested solids through these access lines and can perform a visual inspection through larger openings as part of a regular septic tank maintenance.

There are many septic system designs ranging from single unit perforated tanks to multi compartment pre treatment reservoirs. All of the systems generally rely on bacteria and enzymes to break down waste into a more manageable byproduct that the drainage area can more easily dispense of. With simple, bacteria rich waste entering the system, most skeptics’ provide many years of service and remain trouble free provided routine maintenance is adhered to. This optimal functionality may be idea but is often not the case in a real world environment. Most household cleaners comprising of laundry detergents, bleach, bath cleaners, kitchen cleaners, anti bacterial soaps and other common cleaners contain ingredients that are for the most part detrimental to the healthy bacteria life within the system itself. Newer, more bacteria friendly products are arriving on shelves regularly but are often times hard to find or simply do not perform as efficiently as their more harmful counterparts. While some systems allow this tainted or grey water to flow into a separate leaching area, many systems are designed so as to allow these harsh chemicals to enter directly into the septic system, killing off massive amounts of bacteria along the way.

If you are like many people, diverting your laundry and other grey water flow can pose a problem and is dependant upon whether or not you have a suitable location to do so and this rerouting is allowed by your local municipality. If you are in a position to reroute your grey water, typically a French drain or drywell system is employed to handle the waste. For the rest of us, working to increase the bacteria and enzyme counts within your system is the optimal approach to ensure system longevity and functionality. Cutting back on the use of, or trading out, harsh chemical cleaners is the first step to helping healthy bacteria flourish. Major retailers are now beginning to carry suitable lines of products that will effectively perform their function without killing off as much bacteria as their standard counterparts. Adding concentrated bacteria to your system is the premier method of assuring that bacteria colonies ado not be reduced to a non-performing state. Luckily, bacteria additives designed for septic tank maintenance and complete restoration from failure are readily available. Bacteria, added directly to the system in a stabilized form, can offset the destructive power of most chemicals and keep your bacteria life healthy and readily available to digest the waste within your system. Choosing a maintenance bacteria that is chemical resistant and contain a very high colony count is of the utmost importance since many over the counter products contain minimal amounts compared to commercial brands.

If you have a septic system and would like to assure that the entire system will perform at maximum capacity for the longest period of time possible, consider greening up your chemical use and utilize a regular septic tank maintenance product designed to maximize your colony counts. These two methods are the most important factors in maintaining any septic tank or pit type system.