4. Use and Maintenance
A professional engineer or sanitarian designs a proper septic system based on site conditions and proposed use. Likewise, a septic system installer installs the system by following the design plans and using approved materials and methods. Once the system is in the ground, the key to long, trouble-free use rests with the owner. The difference between out-of-sight-out-of-mind performance and system failure is the implementation of an effective wastewater management program. Small efforts on a regular basis can save a lot of money and significantly prolong the life of the system.
The most obvious septic system failures are easy to spot: pooling water or muddy soil around the septic system or in the basement, water backing up in the toilet or other house drains, foul odors, or strips of bright green grass over the leach field. The causes of these failures include excessive water use, discharge of inappropriate or toxic substances such as paints, solvents, cleaning agents, non-biodegradable paper and plastics, and, in some cases, vegetation planted over the system. Please refer to our Septic System Dos and Donts memo for more information on this topic.