SEPTIC SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
In a system that is properly maintained, the bacteria necessary for its proper operation can live happily almost indefinitely, going about their daily chore of breaking down solids. If the septic system is abused it will shut down. Sludge will form, build up and get pushed into the leach field causing it to fail. Should the leach field fail, it may be un-repairable.
Maintenance - No regular maintenance should be necessary in a normally functioning system where good septic etiquette is practiced. The septic tank should be pumped out and inspected every four years.
Pumping - The septic tank can be pumped but the leach field cannot. Have the tank inspected every three to five years, and more often if a lot of water or a garbage disposal is used. Check the sludge level. The tank needs pumping when the sludge reaches 1/3 of the tanks depth. After pumping, add a pound of yeast to kick-start the bacteria.
Dual System - Some homes have a dual leach field system with a switchover valve located in a distribution box in the yard. This allows the homeowner to alternate between two separate leach fields. This should be done every six to nine months.
Trees and Shrubs - Planting trees or shrubs in the area occupied by the leach field is strongly discouraged. Trees should be kept as far away as possible. Roots from trees will block and possibly destroy the pipes in the leach field.