Septic Tank Inspections – What you need to know

By on August 10, 2017

Septic tank treatment

If you have an onsite wastewater treatment system for your home, like about 25% of homeowners do, did you know that you need to have a septic tank inspection performed on a regular basis? One myth that some homeowners believe is that once you have a septic tank installed, you do not have to worry about it for several years. Other times, homeowners who are more familiar with public sewage systems assume that the tanks work in much the same way. This could not be more inaccurate.

Maintenance on your septic tank like septic tank cleaning is important to protect your home?s investment and save you money. When a system fails, it is sometimes necessary to replace the entire unit which can cost thousands of dollars. A system that is maintained and used properly though can last a good 20 years.

Another reason for having a regular septic tank service inspection is to protect the health of your family and the surrounding environment. A failing tank can result in contamination not only in your yard, but also in the groundwater which leads to your community?s rivers and streams. Swimmers can get ear and eye infections, acute gastrointestinal diseases, and even hepatitis.

The good news is that with a bit of research and education, you can learn exactly what you need to do to keep your septic tank running properly for many years to come with septic cleaning.

How often you should have a septic tank inspection depends on a couple of different factors. Things you should consider include the type of tank you own, the size of your tank, and the number of people in your household.

Homes with standard tanks should have septic tank treatment at least every 2-3 years, but homes with alternative systems need to be inspected at least once per year. Households that drain larger amounts of wastewater and solids will obviously need tank inspections done more often.

Other factors to consider are the types of waste that leave your home. If you use a garbage disposal, the debris from your sink goes directly into your septic tank. Naturally occurring bacteria in the system works to break down the solids that enter your tank. However, they do not break down everything and too much food waste ends up overloading the system.

Using a garbage disposal will require more inspections and pumping than a home that wraps and tosses their food waste in the trash. A garbage disposal can increase the solid wastes in your tank significantly. You could also use an environmentally friendly option like composting to reduce this waste.

Chemicals and mixtures like gasoline, paint, oil, anti-freeze and some household cleaners also affect the efficiency of your tank. Introducing toxins to this mixture can kill the helpful bacteria. This results in a buildup of the sludge layer, or solid waste, in your tank. Find alternative methods of disposal for chemicals and look for detergents that are phosphate-free.

Of course, any other solids that go into your septic tank make the sludge or solid waste layer thicker. Things like kitty litter, dental floss, Q-tips, tampons, diapers, coffee grounds, and grease should never be flushed or put down the drains. Bacteria in the septic systems cannot break down these items effectively.

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