1) Is there a specific type of toilet paper I should use?
No. Toilet paper breaks down quite easily inside your septic tank. Paper towels, Kleenex, and baby wipes do NOT decompose easily and should NEVER be flushed down the toilet. These are often the cause of plugged drain lines and can quickly plug up a drainfield.
2) Can I plant trees around my septic tank and/or drainfield?
This is not recommended. Tree roots are expansive, and love the nutrient rich waste water inside your septic tank and drainfield. Weeping Willow trees, for example, can have root networks of over 75 feet and should never be planted near a septic tank and/or drainfield.
3) How can I find my septic tank and drainfield?
There are multiple ways this can be done:
• Septic tanks are generally located within 10-20 feet of the house, near a bathroom, and on the back or side of the house. Locating the drain line (in the basement or crawlspace) that leads out of the house will point you in the general direction of the septic tank.
• The health department should have a record of the permit used when your septic system was installed if it was withing the past 20 years.
• Southern Septic technicians are experienced in locating septic tanks and have different tools at our disposal.
4) How often should I have my septic tank pumped?
|Estimated Septic Tank Inspection and Pumping Frequency in Years|
|Number of People Using the System|
|Source: Adapted from “Estimated Septic Tank Pumping Frequency,” by Karen Mancl, 1984. Journal of Environmental Engineering. Volume 110.|
Septic systems generally last for about 20-30 years. Septic systems that are regularly pumped and maintained can last longer while a lack of regular maintenance can drastically shorten the life of your septic tank and drainfield. We’ve seen septic systems that have had to be replaced in less than 4 years because of improper maintenance. The cost to replace a septic system can ranger from $6,000 – $10,000. That’s more than the combined cost of a regularly scheduled septic tank cleaning schedule over the entire life of your system!!!
Or put another way….Most people who live in the city and who are on the city sewer system pay somewhere between $20-30 a month in city sewer fees. This equates to roughly $240-$360 a year. This is OVER $300 – $500 MORE than having your septic tank pumped on a 2 year maintenance schedule.
5) What types of things shouldn’t be flushed down into the septic system?
Anything that you can throw in the garbage. this includes but is not limited to: coffee grounds, food, dental floss, diapers, cat litter, baby wipes, cigarette butts, tampons, condoms, paper towels, clothing, plastic bags.
Some of these items are biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean they belong in your septic tank. A lot of people use a garbage disposal and wash food particles down the drain. This adds A LOT of solid matter to the septic tank and can reduce the amount of time between septic tank cleanings by up to half.
6) Is it okay to drive on top of my septic tank and drainfield?
Please don’t! The weight of the vehicle is enough to collapse a pipe or cause damage to the septic tank. It can also shift the ground enough in soft areas where it actually breaks the drain line coming into the septic tank or drainfield.
7) Can a leaky faucet or a running toilet cause problems to my septic system?
Yes; it may not seem like a lot of water but it’s important to remember that the leak(s) are continuous. The leaky faucet doesn’t stop just because you’re not at home and the toilet doesn’t stop running if you’re not using. This relentless addition of water to a septic system can flood a system within several weeks or a couple of months.
8) How long does a septic system last?
Most septic systems last for 20-30 years. This, however, greatly depends on how you maintain the septic system. Regularly scheduled septic tank cleaning maintenance may prolong the life of your system while waiting 5 years between septic tank cleanings may shorten its life.