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Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy Septic System

Environmental and health hazards posed by pollutants in household wastewater can be effectively reduced when septic systems are properly maintained. Regular maintenance can increase your savings and prolong the life of the system. Here, we will be offering tips on how to maintain a healthy septic system.


Have a professional plumber to inspect your system at least three years as suggested by the inspector. The inspector needs to look for leaks and check the scum and sludge layers in the septic tank. You should keep a record of the scum and sludge levels as this will help you decide about the frequency of pumping. Usually, pumping is recommended to be performed every 3 to 5 years. There are several factors that influence the frequency of pumping which include the amount of wastewater generated, the volume of solids in the wastewater, the size of the septic tank and the number of people in your household.

Other activities of the inspector include:

● Uncovering access holes

● Checking the connections

● Flushing the toilets

● Assessment of the septic tank and drainfield

● Looking for signs of backup

Efficient Water Use

Using water efficiently can reduce the risk of failure and improve the operation of your septic system. You can reduce the volume of wastewater going into the septic system with the following guidelines:

● Install lint filters on washing machines. This can prevent blockages extending the life of the trench.

● Repair leaking taps. A leaking tap can waste as much as 2,000 litres of water per month.

● Install a low­flow showerhead. An efficient showerhead can use as little as 6­7 litres per minute while a standard showerhead uses 15­25 litres of water per minute.

● Fix leaking toilets. According to a report published by nonprofit environmental conservation organisation Clean Up Australia Ltd., a leaking toilet can waste more than 16,000 litres of water a year.

● Install a dual­flush cistern for the toilet. Under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme, this can increase your water savings by 22 percent. A dual­flush cistern reduces the household water use by 30,000 to 40,000 litres per year.

Drain Care

Anything that goes down into the drain will have a major impact on the operation of the septic tank. Here are the things that you should keep in mind:

● Avoid pouring oils and fats into the sink. Oils and fats can solidify causing blockages.

● Use low­phosphorus detergents. Phosphorus contributes to the growth of algal blooms.

● Use hot water to clear clogged drains. Caustic soda and other drain cleaners can interfere with the operation of the septic system.

● Install an effluent filter on the outlet of the septic tank. This extends the life of the drain field by keeping solids in the tank.

● Grow nutrient­tolerant plants. Planting the right vegetation can also affect the condition of the drain field as well as the overall health of the septic system.