The Landlord's Guide to Septic Systems

A little septic tank maintenance equals greater profits and a healthy community. Read on for some tips to maintaining septic tanks.

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2017

  General   Tips   

Why should I maintain my septic tank?

  • Save money - landlords know that a little maintenance goes a long way. Repairing or replacing a septic tank can cost around $3000. Pumping it out yearly only costs $200. Preventing damage is free!
  • Healthy community - when tanks overflow they contaminate nearby wells and groundwater. This can affect the entire communities drinking water. It is no surprise that tanks leak bacteria and viruses that cause dysentery and typhoid fever.
  • Property value - Communities with broken septic tanks stink (pun intended!)

Signs your septic system needs pumping

  • Slowly draining sinks and toilets
  • Sewage odors in the house
  • Soil that is muddy around the tank
  • Very green grass in one area of the yard (extra fertilizer!)
  • Bacteria in the well-water

How does my septic tank work?

It is actually a pretty simple process. All the waste water connects to an underground tank. The heavy items (poo) sink to the bottom. The water drains out through small holes (like a strainer) and into the soil. The soil acts as a filter, absorbing the water. The soil contains natural organisms that help break down any waste.

The septic tank is a delicate mic-poo-sysem. It is an amazing breeding ground for bacteria that breaks down the waste. It is important to not to pollute this environment and allow the bacteria to thrive.

How do I maintain my system?

  • Don't flush unnatural products such as plastics and chemicals.
  • Keep an inspection schedule. You will learn how quickly it fills up based on tenant occupancy. Then, you can make a yearly routine, every fall for example.
  • Prevent unnecessary kitchen waste from entering the tank. It is best not to have a garbage disposal. Food items should simply be thrown away. It is even best not to drain small items such as coffee grinds and cooking oil.
  • Don't allow the soil around the tank to become too saturated. If the area around the septic tank has turned into a swamp, the water will no longer be able to escape. You can prevent this problem by not wasting water.

How do I conserve water?

  • Fix leaky faucets and running toilets
  • Install water saving spouts for faucets and showers
  • Install toilets with a low-flush option. (#1 or #2?)

How do I protect the tank?

  • Don't plant trees near it. Roots can work their way in, causing damage.
  • Don't allow vehicles to drive next to it. Block this area off, if it's near a parking lot.
  • Don't pave the drain field. You need the soil in this area to absorb the water.

A little septic tank maintenance equals greater profits and a healthy community.

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