Maintaining your septic system

Maintaining your septic system is a good investment. Here is a checklist of actions you can take to ensure your system has a long life:

  • Get a copy of your septic system’s “as-built” drawing from your Health Department if you do not have one. This drawing should show the location of your septic tank, drainfield, and all septic parts.
  • Ensure that no vehicles or heavy machinery drive over any portion of your system.
  • Keep records of any pumping or repairs.
  • Inspect your system regularly. Depending on the type of system you have, the recommended inspection frequency may vary from every 6 months to every three years at most. Check with your Health Department to see how often you need to have your type of system inspected. Some counties allow you to complete your own inspection, and offer literature, classes, or videos on how to do so.
  • Pump your system when necessary.
  • Clean septic tank filters as recommended or at least annually, if you have them.
  • Install inspection risers (extension tubes from the top of the tank to the surface that makes it easier to access your system to inspect or pump).
  • Spread out the timing of water use around the house. Take showers and baths when the dishwasher or washing machine is not in use. Limit dishwashing or laundry loads to one cycle daily or space out loads to allow the system to process the water.
  • Reduce water use. Guideline 8 has some great ideas on how to conserve water.
  • Consider renting a port-a-potty for large events to avoid putting stress on your system.