Q:

What should you know about septic tank drainage systems?

A:

Quick Answer

Know how to properly care for a septic system by knowing when to pump a septic tank, how to manage the drainfield and household water usage, and what items should never go down the drain. Managing the septic system well should avoid costly repairs, but always maintain an area that could accommodate a new septic tank drainfield in case the system fails.

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Full Answer

A licensed septic tank pumper should pump the septic tank every three to five years, even if the septic tank functions properly. If the house has a two-tank system, the pumper should only pump out one tank each visit. The next time the septic tank pumper visits, he should pump the alternate tank.

A septic tank cannot adequately break down condoms, coffee grounds, dental floss, feminine hygiene products and other similar items, so never flush or rinse these items down the drain. A septic tank can only handle limited amounts of other items, such as oil, grease, antibacterial soaps and cleaning supplies.

Manage the amount of water the septic tank receives each day. Use low-flow appliances and fixtures to limit household water usage. Spread water-intensive chores, such as doing laundry, over several days to prevent the drainfield from becoming oversaturated.

Protect the drainfield from damage by never planting trees, shrubs and other deep-rooted plants over the drainfield. Also, never place a new building, walkway, driveway, patio or similar structure over an existing drainfield.

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