Caring for your Septic System
Are you the owner of a septic system?
If so, your septic system can provide effective, long-term wastewater treatment, right in your backyard. If your system is working properly, it is an environmentally friendly and economically sound treatment option.
Out of sight – out of mind?
Unfortunately septic systems are out of sight. Many homeowners don’t realize that there may be a problem until their system is already failing. It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of septic systems in our region are malfunctioning. The most common cause of failure is lack of maintenance.
How does my septic system work?
Wastewater from your sinks, toilets and laundry drains through a pipe from your home into your septic tank. Your septic tank is designed to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle at the bottom and oil and grease to float to the top.
Signs of Septic System Failure
It is time to call a professional if you notice any of the following:
Natural bacteria in the tank start breaking down the solids; however, eventually the solids build up and must be pumped out. Regular pumping will reduce the amount of solids entering your drainfield and ensure proper drainage and treatment.
The partially treated wastewater from your tank flows through an outlet into a distribution box. The box evenly distributes the discharged wastewater into a network of pipes underneath the drainfield. The wastewater begins to percolate into the soil through small holes in the pipes. Natural filtration and microorganisms in the soil remove any remaining harmful particles in the wastewater. The treated and cleansed wastewater passes into the groundwater and returns to the water cycle.
Why should I care for my septic system?
There are three main reasons for maintaining your septic system:
How do I care for my septic system?
Your actions are the key to your system’s longevity. Here are ten steps you can take to maintain your system:
Protect your Drainfield
The drainfield includes the pipes that discharge your wastewater as well as the soil beneath those pipes that receives and further treats the wastewater. The drainfield is the most complicated and expensive part of the septic system to repair or replace – it is a substantial investment. Treating it right and protecting it from damage can save considerable money and protect water quality and your family’s health.
Remember to maintain easy access to your tank and drainfield at all times for regular inspection and pumping.
How does the soil treat wastewater?
For more information please visit the following web sites:
Note: The information on this web page is taken from a brochure published by the Capital Regional District (CRD), Vancouver Island. Visit their excellent website for more information on this and related subjects.