Keeping Your System Working Properly

How much water flows through your on-site system makes a big difference in how effectively the wastewater is treated.  Overloading with large volumes of water may not allow enough time for solids to settle in standard systems, or to be treated properly in aerobic systems.  Water use habits and fixtures also have an effect on how much water enters the system.

An on-site treatment system is not the same as a city sewer.  You cannot just put anything down the drain.  Certain materials may plug up the system, or stop the decomposition process.

One of the most effective ways to reduce overloading is to replace older high use fixtures with more efficient ones.  For example, new high efficiency washing machines often use less than 50 percent of the water that older machines use.  This can amount up to 25 gallons per wash that is saved.

Try to distribute laundry loads evenly over the week.  Doing all the laundry on one day will overwhelm the system with large volumes of water.

If chlorine is used in laundry, do not use any more than is absolutely necessary.  Chlorine will kill beneficial bacteria in your system.

If a garbage disposal is used, use it minimally.  Using a garbage disposal with an on-site system adds huge amounts of organic materials that quickly fill up the tank.  Tank cleaning should be done every year if this is used extensively.

DO NOT pour grease down the drain.  Oils and grease will build up on pipes, is resistant to decomposition, and will eventually plug up drainage lines. 

Non-degradable materials containing plastic,along with most paper products other than toilet tissue should not be flushed into the system.  This includes tampons,  disposable diapers, condoms, and paper towels.  These items may block the flow of water at the inlet or outlet of the tank.

Minimize the amount of cleaners that go down the drain.  Many cleaners contain chemicals that kill beneficial bacteria in the tank.

Have your tank pumped out every 1-3 years.  This is a normal part of system maintenance, and will greatly extend the effective life of the drain field.  Failure to pump out the tank will decrease the free space for wastewater in the tank, and will allow solids and grease to enter the drain field.

If you have a water softener, recharge it as infrequently as possible, or use one that automatically recharges only after it has treated a certain amount of water.