Some Things to Know About Septic Tank Service

If you own property and it uses a septic system for waste disposal, there are some things that you should know. The frequency of septic tank service is determined primarily by the size of the tank and the amount of waste material being processed. Since more than liquid waste is processed by the system, I thought I would devote a little time to the discussion of the solid material that goes into these systems. It is important to know what should and what should not go into them.

The Amount of Solid Material
One of the determining factors for the frequency of septic tank pumping is the amount of solid material that is going into your system. The more solid material that collects at the bottom of the tank, the less room there is in the tank for liquids to be processed. And, the solid material decomposes to some degree but will build up as sludge that needs to be removed to provide appropriate processing space.

So, how do you limit the amount of solid waste going into your system? Here are some tips for controlling this material:

Limit the use of garbage disposal. Garbage disposal actually double the amount of solid waste in your system and require more frequent pumping.
Do not use too much water. (A good limit is 50 gallons per person per day.)
Do not add materials such as facial tissues, hygiene products, or cigarette butts to wastewater.
Do not pour cooking oils or grease down the drain.
Maintain a grass or other vegetative covering over the drain field.

There are some things that absolutely should not be put into your septic system:

cooking grease, oils, or fats;
paint thinners;
disinfectants; and
other household chemicals.

Cooking grease, oils or fats should be placed in a container and put in household garbage that will be disposed of at your local land fill. Pesticides, paints, paint thinners, solvents, disinfectants and other household chemicals are toxic substances that threaten ground water quality. They may also kill the microorganisms that help purify the sewage. For information on safe disposal of these chemicals, contact the county office of your local Cooperative Extension Service.

If you do your part in controlling what goes into your system, then you will help your septic service company provide more efficient service to keep your system operating safely and efficiently with lower repair and replacement costs.