Finding Solutions for Your Septic Tank Problems

Used To Sewers? Here's What You Need To Know About Your New Home's Septic Tank

by Senanur Norder

The majority of people in the United States use public sewers instead of private septic tanks. Septic tanks and sewers may have the same goal (to process waste water), but the differences between these two systems are pronounced and significant. They function differently, and the responsibilities of the homeowners are different. If you're used to sewers, knowing these differences will help you become adjusted to your septic system, so you can begin maintaining your system properly from the start. 

Sewer Maintenance Vs. Septic Maintenance

The sewer is an underground system designed to transport waste water away from homes and businesses to waste water facilities for processing. Homeowners are usually only responsible for maintaining the sewage line that connects their home to the sewer. Many homeowners do little to maintain their sewer line until it backs up or needs repair. The sewer system itself is maintained through tax money as a public service. 

Septic tanks are also underground, but are designed to process waste water on site. Septic tanks consist of a main drain line that leads to a tank where waste water is stored. When water enters the tank, it begins to separate. Sludge and solid matter settles to the bottom. Water stays in the middle, and fats float to the top. When the tank gets filled to a certain point, water drains to the leach field, where it is filtered and cleaned. All of this happens within the boundaries of the property being serviced by the tank. Maintenance of septic tanks are usually the sole responsibility of the property owner. 

Septic Maintenance: Your New Responsibilities

Sludge in septic tanks needs to be pumped out on a regular basis to keep the septic system functioning properly. The frequency between cleanings depends on the size of the tank, the size of the household, and the habits of the people in your household. At a minimum, you should have your septic tank pumped at least every three years, however, your septic tank may need to be cleaned out more frequently to maintain optimal performance. To find out for sure, talk a septic service professional. 

In addition to getting regular pumpings, you may need to change your behaviors in order to prevent clogs and to keep your tank working properly. For example, garbage disposal use is discouraged for homes with septic tanks. Some garbage disposals are made to be used on properties with septic tanks. If your new home has a garbage disposal in the kitchen, find out for sure whether or not that particular model is appropriate for use on properties with septic tanks. 

In addition, avoid flushing medicines, tampons and anything that isn't toilet paper. This is critical for keeping your septic tank operating smoothly. 

Finally, it's important to keep your water usage low. When septic tanks are flooded with water, sludge from the bottom is stirred up, and that can result in particles flowing through the drain to the leach field. Ultimately, this can result in clogs at the leach field. For more tips and information about how to maintain your septic system, talk to a septic service professional like SOS Septic Inc