Septic System FAQs
Got septic tank questions? We have answers! From preventing backups to increasing longevity we have answers to your most frequently asked septic tank questions. Just click the + sign in the orange square for the full answer and details.
Have your installer make a drawing (to scale) that shows the location of your tank and drainfield in relation to your home. This will help guide your service provider should any repairs be necessary. You’ll also need a diagram of your septic system when you are considering any home renovations, landscaping projects, or new parking places and driveways.
Yes, particularly if you have an alternative system. A service provider is your best defense against expensive repairs and/or emergency problems.
Not very often. An average family of four living in a three-bedroom house will need their septic tank pumped every three to five years.
This is never advisable and is against most municipal codes. Do not build any additions, pools, driveways over a tank. Also, do not build or plant on top of your drainfield.
NO! Though septic systems are safe for your family, opening the septic tank without professional training can expose you to dangerous gases and bacteria. Call a certified and trained septic professional if you detect any problems in your system.
A conventional septic system has a tank (typically 750 to 2000 gallons) and a leach field (perforated pipe buried shallow in an extended area).
Septic tanks may be made of concrete, fiberglass or a plastic.
Experts disagree. A properly maintained septic system discharges treated effluent directly into the ground, where its close contact with soil results in additional purification. A central sewerage system discharges very large volumes of treated effluent into a body of water at one location.
In the United States, local jurisdictions typically regulate onsite wastewater treatment systems.
For situations where the ground permiability is not suitable for a traditional leach field a mound system may be needed.
In other situations where ground permiability is not suitable an ET system may be required. In such a system, all the effluent is contained to a small area and it either evaporates into the air or is used by plants and transpires out through their leaves.
When the pores of undisturbed soil surrounding the leach field clog, the effluent cannot seep into the ground.
A stinky area of wet, soggy soil, sometimes with visible water, may appear. Sewage may back up into the house and toilets may not flush properly.
Some last for several decades. Most do not. Typically a septic tank gets pumped every 3-5 years. This can depend on ths size and usage.