Septic maintenance

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by michaelheerwald, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    May 7, 2007
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    I have just purchased a home with a septic system, it is my first real experience with one except for a lake house which I have never had any problems with since it is just used for a month a year! My question is what do I need to do for maintenance of the system, how will I know when to have it pumped, since I bought it at auction I don't know any history of the system? It has been working just fine, I just want to know what to expect! Also is pouring treatment down system a good idea or not?
  2. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr In the Trades

    Dec 12, 2005
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Soon. The sooner the better. Then get on a regular pumping schedule.

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  4. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Feb 20, 2008
    Pooping into the system adds a great amount of bacteria that is needed.

    Bleach kills bacteria, so don't use bleach.

    Pump it faithfully every 3-5 years.
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    Initially I'd go for having it pumped early...
    Say about 2 years and have the septic tank pumper tell you how long you should go based on that.
    It really depends on the size of the tank and the number of people using it but 2 years should give him a good gauge of how you are doing.
    He will then give you a number somewhere in that 3-5 year range.
  6. Mike Swearingen

    Mike Swearingen New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Independent Real Estate Broker
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC
    Been on septic systems now for more than 32 years.
    NC State University has done many years of extensive studies of all types.
    In a nutshell, their findings:
    A. All of those chemical additives are a total waste of money. Normal usage provides all of the bacteria necessary.
    B. The only maintenance for normal usage is to have the tank pumped at least every five years (I went 14 years with no problems whatsoever before I found that out. I know people that have gone far longer). I have my tank pumped out every year ending in 0 or 5 to keep it "idiot proof "for me.
    C. If you have trees or shrubbery over or near the tank or drainfield, flush a cup or two of copper sulphate crystals down the toilet about three times a year to keep the roots knocked back.
    That's all that I do, and I never had any problems.
    Consult your local Health Department septic system permitting technician. They can tell you what works best in your area, based on soil type, etc.
    Here, they're the ones who custom-design each system based on the soil type of the lot and the planned usage based on number of bedrooms.
    As advised, limit the amount of bleach, paint, solids (food particles, cig butts, etc.), grease, etc. and other non-biodegradeables.
    Good Luck!
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
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