Routine Septic Tank Inspection: Preventing Problems With Your Sewage Systems

Inspecting your septic tank helps detect problems before they become serious. It ensures your septic system functions properly, preventing sewage from backing into homes and polluting the environment. Wastewater flows into the septic tank, where solid waste forms sludge and fats form a floating layer known as scum. The liquid wastewater travels to the drain field while microorganisms break down the solid waste.

Increases the Value of Your Home

All of the benefits of routine septic pumping add up to help you maintain or increase the value of your property. Many people avoid maintenance because they think it will be expensive, but the truth is that it costs far less than a major septic system repair or replacement. Everything that goes down your drains enters your septic system, separating into three layers: solid waste (a.k.a. sludge), watery effluent, and a layer that floats. The liquid effluent is then filtered by the soil in your drain field or mound system to release into groundwater slowly. If you plan to sell your home, new buyers will consider how well your septic system has been maintained. A clean, functioning septic system is a desirable feature of any home. Likewise, a dirty one could cause back-ups and other costly issues that detract from your home’s value.

Reduces Sewage Backups

Solids can clog pipes and cause sewage to return to homes, so septic tank pumping removes them before entering the leach field. Routine septic pump-outs are far less expensive than the thousands of dollars required for septic system replacement, repair, and cleanup following a failure.   Septic tanks are not trash cans, and flushing anything down the toilet—like grease, hygiene products, diapers, baby wipes, dental floss, paper towels, cigarette butts, cat litter, or household chemicals—can lead to premature septic tank system failure. Those items do not decompose in the septic system and, over time, will clog the tank, overflow into the drain field, or taint groundwater.

A standard indicator that your septic tank needs to be pumped is the smell of sewage. Scheduling regular tank pumping will eliminate this foul odor, making your home more comfortable. A well-maintained septic system will also help increase the value of your home. Buyers may ask how the septic system is maintained, so keeping records of septic tank pumping is vital.

Prevents Clogs

The leading cause of septic tank clogs is solid waste buildup. While the bacteria in your septic system breaks down some solids, it isn’t enough to keep the entire tank clean. In addition, fats, oils, and grease poured down drains can increase the risk of clogs by restricting the flow of wastewater. A clogged septic tank can overflow your home, causing sewage odor and backups. It can also cause a severe health hazard for your family. If sewage escapes from your septic system, it can pollute nearby water sources such as lakes and ponds. It can result in toxic algal blooms that harm humans and wildlife. The more solid waste that fills up your septic tank, the more often you need to pump it. To prevent this, practice water conservation and avoid putting non-biodegradable materials into your toilets or garbage disposal. It will help you reduce the amount of solid waste that needs to be pumped out.

Prevents Pollution

Septic systems filter sewage before it’s released into the environment. Without proper septic tank pumping, contaminants seep into the ground, contaminate water bodies like creeks and rivers, and even taint your home’s drinking water. Septic tanks hold human waste, digested by bacteria, in the septic system. Lighter materials and grease rise to the top of the septic tank as scum, while heavier solids sink to the bottom as a layer of sludge. A pipe carries the liquid wastewater from the septic tank to a soil absorption field, where it’s absorbed into the ground and naturally filtered by soil microorganisms.

To help your septic system work properly:

  1. Use only toilet paper, water, and food waste in the household, and limit the garbage you put into the septic tank and drain field.
  2. Never flush cigarette butts, cat litter, coffee grounds, diapers, personal sanitary products or flushable wipes.
  3. Prevent root intrusion by planting shrubs, grass, and plants with shallow roots surrounding the septic tank and absorption field.