Proper use and routine maintenance and upkeep of septic systems is crucial for safeguarding watershed health. To preserve the well-being of lakes and streams, it is imperative for residents within the watershed’s limits to conduct regular inspections and maintenance of their septic systems. Adhere to the septic system maintenance guidelines provided below and contribute to watershed protection by being informed about septic care. “Do your part…be septic smart!”
Even well-operating septic systems can permit harmful chemicals and detrimental nutrients to permeate the soil, eventually finding their way into surface water and, in some cases, even drinking water.
Every septic system has a finite lifespan. Whether old or new, these systems endure for an extended period as long as the microbes in the tank and drain field are not exposed to harsh chemicals and pharmaceuticals that can exterminate the beneficial bacteria responsible for treating incoming wastewater. Consequently, newer systems may experience premature failure if substances harmful to the system are introduced, or if the volume of wastewater overwhelms its capacity.
Conversely, both aging and recent septic systems can function effectively for an extended duration if the substances disposed of down the drain are not detrimental to the microbes responsible for wastewater treatment. Additionally, matching the volume of wastewater with the system’s capacity contributes to its longevity.
However, ultimately, all drain fields—whether new or old—will reach a point where the soils and microbes lose their ability to effectively treat wastewater, necessitating the replacement of the old drain field. A well-maintained drain field typically lasts around 25 years or more.
Homeowners can safeguard water quality by being mindful of what goes down their drains and by regularly inspecting their septic systems to ensure proper functionality.
Make sure you know where your septic tank and drainfield are located so you can watch for signs of problems.
These products are a poor substitute for proper septic system maintenance! While they claim to convert solid material from the septic tank into liquid which can move quickly through the drainfield, accelerating the natural decay process will send larger amounts of nutrients and contaminants into nearby surface and groundwater.
The more water flowing through the septic system, the faster and more intense is the release of nutrients into the ground. As a rule, you reduce nitrogen releases by conserving water. Water conservation also cuts electricity bills, since water wells uses AC power to pump the water into your house. Distribute laundry loads throughout the week to avoid overloading the system, and always use detergents without phosphates.
Be wary of contractors who offer to save you money by cutting corners. An improperly installed system can spell disaster by polluting surface or groundwater with nitrates, fecal bacteria, and viruses. Consider the newest septic technologies which can help protect nearby surface water by removing nitrogen and phosphorus in the drainfield.