Periodic pumping is the primary maintenance required for septic tanks. However, many household practices can impact the overall health and operation of a septic system. Septic tank users who take care not to introduce excessive water, chemicals, contaminants and choose landscaping and building additions wisely can make their septic tanks almost maintenance-free. These practices, along with constant awareness of potential problem indicators such as odors, alarms, blower malfunctions and poor drainage, can deter potentially expensive repairs.
Typically, septic tanks should be pumped about every three to five years. The frequency may vary depending on the size of the tank and the amount of people using the system. Keep a log of past pumping and create a schedule for future servicing to maintain a regular routine. Have a service provider take a biosolids measurement to gauge when septic tank pumping is warranted.
Septic users should avoid overloading large amounts of water into the system simultaneously. High water use activities such as washing clothes, running the dishwasher and showering should never be done at the same time. Repair any water leaks or constantly running plumbing fixtures immediately.
Household cleaners, coffee grounds, food wastes, paper towels and anything else besides water or human waste should never be flushed into a septic system, because they clog the system and destroy the bacteriological balance needed for it to function properly.