Frequently Asked Questions
Your septic system is your responsibility!
Did you know that as a homeowner you’re responsible for maintaining your septic system? Did you know that maintaining your septic system protects your investment in your home? Did you know that you should periodically inspect your system and pump out your septic tank? If properly designed, constructed, and maintained, your septic system can provide long-term, effective treatment of household wastewater.
If your septic system isn’t maintained, you might need to replace it, costing you thousands of dollars. A malfunctioning system can contaminate groundwater that might be a source of drinking water. And if you sell your home, your septic system must be in good working order.
You should have your septic system inspected at least every two years by a professional and your tank pumped as necessary (generally every two years).
Use Water Efficiently:
Average indoor water use in the typical single-family home is almost 70 gallons per person per day. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system.
Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, diapers, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, cat litter, paper towels, and other kitchen and bathroom items can clog and potentially damage septic system components. Flushing household chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze and paint can stress or destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system or might contaminate surface waters and groundwater.
Maintain your septic system:
Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the drain field. Don’t drive or park vehicles on any part of your septic system. Doing so can compact the soil in your drain field or damage the pipes, tank, or other septic system components. Keep roof drains, basement sump pump drains, and other rainwater or surface water drainage systems away from the drain field. Flooding the drain field with excessive water slows down or stops treatment processes and can cause plumbing fixtures to back up.
Why you should maintain your septic system:
A key reason to maintain your septic system is to save money! Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or replace, and poor maintenance is often the culprit. Having your septic system inspected (at least every 2 years) is a bargain when you consider the cost of replacing the entire system.
Typically, your system will need pumping every 2 years, depending on how many people live in the house and the size of the system. An unusable septic system or one in disrepair will lower your property’s value and could pose a legal liability. Other good reasons for safe treatment of sewage include preventing the spread of infection and disease and protecting water resources.
Typical pollutants in household wastewater are nitrogen phosphorus, and disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Nitrogen and phosphorus are aquatic plant nutrients that can cause unsightly algae blooms. Excessive nitrate-nitrogen in drinking water can cause pregnancy complications, as well as methemoglobinemia (also known as blue baby syndrome) in infancy. Pathogens can cause communicable diseases through direct or indirect body contact or ingestion of contaminated water or shellfish. If a septic system is working properly, it will effectively remove most of these pollutants.
Septic 101 - Learn more about your septic system by attending one of our Library Talks!
Carroll County Public Library. All sessions begin at 7:00pm.
Septic 101 – October 8th – Finksburg Library
Septic – BAT What’s That – September 29th – Eldersburg Library
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Licensed in Baltimore, Carroll, Howard and Frederick Counties
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