Myths About Septic Systems Debunked

A well functioning septic system rarely experiences any problems such as sewer backups or overflows. Unfortunately, some myths on septic system care persist, and these can lead to major problems with your system. Learn what they are so you can ensure you keep your septic in good working order.

Myth: Septic Systems Affect Groundwater Quality.

Fact: A Properly Functioning and Maintained Septic System Causes No Harm.

There is some truth in this myth—if one doesn't have their tank pumped regularly and properly maintained or if the drain field fails, then unprocessed sewage effluent can make its way into the groundwater. This is one reason why those on private wells need to have their water quality tested annually, as these tests can help spot both water and septic system problems early. Fortunately, with regular pumping and an annual system inspection, you can ensure your septic system and drain field are operating properly and not leaching into the water supply.

Myth: Septic Systems Never Require Maintenance.

Fact: Every Well Functioning System Requires Some Basic Care.

At a bare minimum, a septic tank needs to be pumped and cleaned when it begins to approach the full line. Depending on the type of system, you may also need to have the pump tuned up, effluent filter screens replaced, and valves and lines checked and repaired as needed. The drain field must also be maintained, which generally means ensuring no tree roots encroach on the field and heavy traffic is kept off the field. Your septic service technician can help you develop a maintenance plan suited to your system.

Myth: You Can Put Anything Into a Septic System.

Fact: Some Items Can Harm Your Septic System.

A septic system is designed to break down human waste, although it can handle a little bit of extra waste such as small amounts of food waste and toilet paper. It isn't designed to act as a garbage disposal, break down pet waste, or take in diapers, wet wipes, or feminine sanitary products. Overloading the system with these items can cause blockages, affect the breakdown of the waste, and lead to an increased need for pumping. Further, avoid adding septic additives. These are marketed as to minimizing the need for pumping, but they are unnecessary and can actually throw off the healthy bacterial balance of your tank.

For more information about caring for your septic system, contact a septic tank maintenance service in your area like for more help in caring for your system.