Septic Systems - Do's and Don'ts
Do's
dot Do spread automatic washer use over the week rather than many loads on one day
dot Do make a permanent record of where the key parts of your system are located for future maintenance; such as tank pump outs or field repairs
 
dot Do have your septic tank pumped out regularly.
dot Do keep the records of pump outs and maintenance.
dot Do use water-conserving devices where possible, low flush toilets and showers heads are commonly available.
 
dot Do have manually cleaned lint traps on your automatic washer.
dot Do check any pumps, siphons, or other moving parts of your system regularly.
dot Do remove or prevent trees with large root systems growing near the disposal field.
dot Do maintain a healthy grass cover over the disposal field to use some of the water and to prevent erosion.
 
dot Do keep surface water from upslope or from roof drains away from the disposal field.
dot Do check your interceptor drain regularly to ensure that it is free flowing.
dot Do compost your kitchen waste. A garbage grinder should be installed only when the septic tank is oversized, and the tank will need to be pumped more often.
 
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Don'ts
dot Don't overload the system with high volumes of water.
dot Don't connect basement sump pumps to the on-site system.
dot Don't connect backwash from water treatment devices directly to the on-site system without professional advice.
 
dot Don't allow large amounts of fats, chemicals or solvents to enter the system; don't allow any plastics to enter.
 
dot Don't use any septic tank additives. They are not beneficial and may damage your disposal system. Active bacteria are naturally present in sewage. Even with additives, regular pumping of solids is still required.
 
dot Don't enter a septic tank without proper ventilation. A second person is required to be present above ground and other requirements by law are met for confined spaces. Sewer gases can be fatal.
 
dot Don't allow vehicles or heavy equipment to drive over or park on the disposal field. This may compact the soil and crush the piping.
 
dot Don't plant anything over the disposal field except grass. Especially do not cover the tank or field with asphalt or concrete or other impermeable material.
 
dot Don't put in a separate pipe to carry wash waters to a side ditch or woods. These "greywaters" also contain disease- carrying organisms.
 
dot Above all else - DO NOT wait for signs of failure. Check the system regularly.
dot Don't flush the following items into your septic system:
- Coffee grounds - Kitty litter - Poisons
- Dental floss - Tampons - Condoms
- Pesticides - Waste oils - Disinfectants
- Fats, grease and oils - Sanitary napkins - Paper towels
- Disposable diapers - Photographic chemicals - Cigarette butts
- Paints/Varnishes/Thinners - Other chemical wastes - Pills and unused medication

To learn more about septic care visit:
Before You Construct an On-site Sewage System: Facts a Homeowner Should Know”
Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems: Your Septic System Is Your Responsibility”
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