Waste discharged to a septic system is full of diseasecausing bacteria and viruses, as well as high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. A functional system will remove most of these contaminants but if a system is overwhelmed, clogged, or damaged by chemicals it can create an unhealthy and expensive problem. Although pumping your system every 3 years for $200-$400 may seem costly, it’s much less than several thousand dollars to replace a dysfunctional system.
Maintaining your septic system
• Know the location, age and maintenance history of your septic tank and drain field.
• Don’t wait until there’s a problem, have your tank inspected and pumped every 3-4 years, depending on household size and use.
• Watch for wet spots or pooling in the drain field, which can indicate system failure.
• Keep trees with extensive root systems and deep rooted plants away from tank and drain field. Grass is the best covering.
• Keep heavy machinery and large animals off of the drain field to avoid damage. • Extensive use of bleach and ammonia cleaners can kill beneficial microbes that treat your sewage. Don’t flush medicines, paint thinners or other chemicals down the drain.
• Due to the harmful chemicals associated with them, do not dispose of RV and boat waste in a septic system. A septic system also cannot process diapers, feminine hygiene products, cat litter, coffee grounds, or cigarettes.
• Retain a large open area in case a replacement drain field is needed.
*Special note: Owners of ATT and sand filter systems, installed after Jan 1, 2014, must maintain a Service Contract with a certified maintenance provider. The maintenance provider must inspect the system at least once every year and submit a report and required fees to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.