Septic Tank Maintenance
Septic systems can pose a risk to source water if not properly cared for and maintained. If your community uses septic systems for its waste disposal, make sure to educate your residents on their responsibilities as a septic tank owner.
Improper construction, misuse, or lack of maintenance can cause septic tanks to contaminant ground water with bacteria and viruses. It’s not hard to imagine that we don’t want to drink the material that ends up in our septic tanks!
The diagram shows how a septic system works. Wastewater flows out of the home and into the tank. Most solid material sinks to the bottom of the tank and forms a sludge layer. Other solids float to the top and form a scum layer. Natural micro-organisms within the tank break down this material and consume some of it.
Material that is not consumed by the micro-organisms in the tank enters the drain field on the tank owner’s property. Here, it spreads out through the soil where it receives some natural filtration. However, too much of this discharge can be bad. Dangerous material is carried in this discharge, including disease-carrying germs and nitrates. Once it enters the drain field, it is spread out through the ground and can easily enter groundwater sources.
Septic tanks must be pumped regularly to remove excess solids.
If the tank is not pumped regularly it will become too full and cause overflow in the drain field. This may also happen if the septic lines get clogged. Overflow in the drain field can result in the surface of your yard becoming flooded with sewage, or sewage backing up into your home! This kind of damage is both dangerous to your health and costly to fix.