Are you thinking about purchasing a home with a septic tank? Have you heard horror stories about septic tank maintenance and are now worried about potential problems? Fortunately, maintaining a septic tank doesn't have to be complicated. Here are a few of the most common septic tank issues and what you can do to keep your system running smoothly:
Clogged discharge pipe: Water that enters a septic tank doesn't stay in the tank forever. The waste water enters at one end and excess water is discharged into the ground at the other side. Between these two pipes, in the tank itself, solids settle out of this water and remain in the tank. Unfortunately, if these solids contain excess grease or inorganic compounds, they may not settle out correctly. As a result, they may block the flow of the discharged water, either within the tank itself or in the drainage field. Avoid flushing inorganic matter such as baby wipes or cat litter into your septic tank. In addition, greasy foods should be thrown into the trash and not the garbage disposal. If you suspect that you have accidentally introduced any of these to your sewage system, a septic tank cleaning is the best way to make sure that no damage occurs to your tank or drainage field.
Plant roots: Animal waste, including human waste, is very rich in nutrients that plants need to live. As a result, trees or bushes that are planted too near the septic tank may start to grow into your drainage field or the septic tank itself. When this happens, you can wind up with a clog that not even prompt septic tank cleaning will be able to resolve. Before planting anything near your septic tank, make sure to research how far the roots will reach. For example, some people may plant bamboo canes or allow them to grow without realizing how invasive they can be and how far they might travel. Some bamboo can send runners out 10-15 feet in a year, Large trees can have a root system that exceeds what you see above ground. In either case, without proper planning and management, your septic tank could become choked with root growth. Keeping large plants away from the septic field is the best way to prevent trouble.
Small tank: Homeowners sometimes install a smaller septic tank in an attempt to save money. Or they may have installed a small tank when your currently 3 bedroom house was a 1 bedroom home. While a small tank can be trouble if unexpected, there are ways to manage it until you can afford to replace the tank. The first thing to do when you move into a new home is to get a septic tank cleaning and inspection. This will give you both an idea of the size of the tank and a starting date. If your tank is smaller than expected, try to conserve water as much as possible. The less water flowing into the tank, the less often it may need to be cleaned. Bacteria and enzyme solutions can help break up the solids in the tank, further lengthening the time between cleanings. If most or all of your drains start to act sluggish, this is a sign that your tank should be cleaned out sooner rather than later. Contact a business, such as Southern Sanitary Systems Inc, for more information.