Focusing On Clean Living

Knowing What You Should And Shouldn't Do To A Septic System

Owning a home with a septic system brings a bit more responsibility into the picture. There are things that you must do, things that you shouldn't do and things that you need to know in order to prevent the dreaded septic tank failure issues.

Things You Must Know


You must know the location of the septic tank and the drainfield. This information can be found on the property survey. Once you find the locations, mark them with stakes or a special lawn ornament so that you can easily find them when you need to. Avoid driving heavy machinery over the drainfield and avoid planting vegetation that could intrude on the system and cause damage to it.


When was the last time that the tank was pumped? Generally, the tank should be emptied every three to five years or when it begins to show signs that it is full or needs maintenance. Each time the tank is pumped, write down the date and how many gallons were removed and hang it up on the wall in your garage, basement or somewhere that you can easily see it as a reminder of when pumping needs to be done again.

Things You Shouldn't Do

As mentioned above, you should never plant deep-rooted plants in the soil of the drainfield or near the tank or lines. You should also never drive heavy equipment or vehicles over the septic system and drainfield.

Other things you shouldn't do include:

Introducing chemicals into the system – Bleach, paint thinner, antibacterial cleaners and soaps, floor cleaners, solvents, drain cleaners and oil should never be poured down drains or flushed down toilets.

Flushing un-degradable items  - Things like feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, sanitary wipes, paper towels, coffee grounds, cat litter, floss, cigarette and cigar butts, and condoms should be avoided at all times. If it isn't toilet paper or something that has come out of your body, find another method of disposal.

Combined drainage – You might think tying the gutter system into the septic lines is a great way to carry the water away from the house, but it isn't a good idea. This will cause the system to work too hard and push more water than the drainfield can handle into the system.

Talk with a company like Martin Septic Service Inc to learn more about caring for your septic system now so that you don't have issues in the future.