Do's and Don'ts of Septic Tanks

Do's and Don'ts of Septic Tanks

DO learn the location of your septic tank and drainfield. Keep a sketch of it handy with your maintenance record for service visits.

DO have your septic system inspected annually.

DO have your septic tank pumped out regularly by a licensed contractor.

DO keep your septic tank cover accessible for inspections and pumpings. Install risers if necessary.

DO call a professional whenever you experience problems with your system, or if there are any signs of system failure.

DO keep a detailed record of repairs, pumpings, inspections, permits issued, and other maintenance activities.

DO conserve water to avoid overloading the system. Be sure to repair any leaky faucets or toilets.

DO divert other sources of water, like roof drains, house footing drains, and sump pumps away from the septic system. Excessive water keeps the soil in the drainfield from naturally cleansing the wastewater.


Be sure to exercise appropriate caution when inspecting a septic tank. Never allow anyone to inspect a septic tank alone or go down into a septic tank. Toxic gases are produced by the natural treatment processes in septic tanks and can kill in minutes - even just looking in the tank can be dangerous.

DON'T go down into a septic tank. Toxic gases are produced by the natural treatment processes in septic tanks and can kill in minutes. Extreme care should be taken when inspecting a septic tank, even when just looking at it.

DON'T allow anyone to drive or park over any part of the system.

DON'T plant anything over or near the drainfield except grass. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs may clog and damage the drainlines.

DON'T dig in your drainfield or build anything with a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. The area over the drainfield should have only a grass cover. The grass will not only prevent erosion, but will help remove excess water.

DON'T make or allow repairs to your septic system without obtaining the required health department permit. Use professional licensed septic contractors when needed.

DON'T use septic tank additives. These products usually do not help and some may even be harmful to your system.

DON'T use your toilet as a trash can or poison your septic system and the groundwater by pouring harmful chemicals and cleaners down the drain. Harsh chemicals can kill the beneficial bacteria that treat your wastewater.

DON'T use a garbage disposal without checking with your local regulatory agency to make sure that your septic system can accommodate this additional waste.

DON'T allow backwash from home water softeners to enter the septic system.


Coffee grinds
Dental floss
Disposable diapers
Kitty Litter
Sanitary napkins
Cigarette butts
Fat, grease or oil

And hazardous chemicals such as:

Waste oils
Photographic solutions

These items can overtax or destroy the biological digestion taking place within your system.

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