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Septic Systems: Do Not Flush Hopes and Dreams
October 19, 2018  |  Published by anonymous

If you live in a rural area, without a centralized sewer system, you most likely have a septic system that collects your home’s wastewater and transfer it to an underground watertight tank. According to the NC State Extension office, most North Carolinians who have septic systems have conventional systems with slight modifications. Typical systems consist of a tank and a drainfield with gravel-filled trenches but newer systems are moving to a gravelless trench design.

The EPA has a downloadable and extremely useful homeowner’s guide to septic systems.  Here are a few highlights:

 

System Set Up

A typical septic system has four main components: a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drainfield, and the soil. Microbes in the soil digest or remove most contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.

How Do I Maintain My Septic System?  

Inspect and pump frequently You should have a typical septic system inspected at least every 3 years by a professional and your tank pumped as recommended by the inspector (generally every 3 to 5 years). Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components need to be inspected more often, generally once a year. Your service provider should inspect for leaks and look at the scum and sludge layers in your septic tank. If the bottom of the scum layer is within 6 inches of the bottom of the outlet tee or the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the outlet tee, your tank needs to be pumped. Remember to note the sludge and scum levels determined by your service provider in your operation and maintenance records. This information will help you decide how often pumping is necessary. (See the checklist included at the end of the booklet.)

Use Water Efficiently!

Install high-efficiency shower heads • Fill the bathtub with only as much water as you need • Turn off faucets while shaving or brushing your teeth • Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they’re full • Use toilets to flush sanitary waste only (not kitty litter, diapers, or other trash) • Make sure all faucets are completely turned off when not in use • Maintain your plumbing to eliminate leaks • Install aerators in the faucets in your kitchen and bathroom • Replace old dishwashers, toilets, and clothes washers with new, high efficiency models.

 

Need a quick guide to septic tank ownership?! Here's more great info. from the EPA.

 

Resources

https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/homeowner_guide_long.pdf

https://www.epa.gov/septic/top-10-ways-be-good-septic-owner

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/239394536421548983/

 

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