14 Tips To Keep Your Septic System Healthy

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:07

Ridding yourself of septic failure memory is as easy as flushing a rock down the toilet.  

Homes built prior to 1973 will have septic systems consisting of a conduit (main line) leading from the house to one or more leaching pools (cesspools). Current septic systems, or onsite water treatment systems (OWTS), consist of a house sewer drain, septic tank, distribution box, and soil absorption or leach field.


Homeowners are responsible for maintaining the septic system. Consistent care and attention of your septic system are essential to preventing system failure. 

How do you know if your system is failing?

  • Toilets are slow to flush.
  • Water backs up into sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and laundry machines.
  • Gurgling sounds are heard when running water or flushing toilets.
  • Grass is a deeper green color over the septic system area.
  • Patches of unusual puddles and sogginess. 
  • Depressions forming in the soil.
  • Unpleasant smell in or around the house.

Even the best designed system will fail if not maintained on a regular basis. Apply these 14 tips to keep your septic system in tip-top shape: 

  1. Know the location of your septic tank and drainfield. Check the property survey and mark the area with permanent stakes. Keep this information in your home records. 
  2. Inspect your septic system every 3 years at minimum.
  3. Pump the septic tank every 3-5 years or as needed.
  4. Keep vehicles, livestock, and other heavy equipment off the septic system area. 
  5. Avoid building structures over leach fields or that limit access to the septic tank or distribution box.
  6. Monitor the area around tank and leach field regularly. Sudden changes in grade (settling), unusual puddling or wet patterns, odors, or sinkholes, can indicate trouble with your system. 
  7. Replace older systems with modern ones for increased efficiency and safety (click to read more about Block Cesspool Collapse).  
  8. Use water efficiently. Be mindful of personal water use. Check toilets for running water, fix leaky faucets, and install water-conserving fixtures and appliances. 
  9. Flush responsibly! DO NOT flush products that don’t easily degrade such as: paper towels, cotton swabs, personal hygiene products, condoms, medications, disposable diapers, coffee grounds, cat litter, cooking fats/oils, facial tissues, dental floss, cigarette butts, plastics, or bones. 
  10. Avoid placing hazardous and strong chemicals down sinks or toilets such as: drain cleaners, solvents, paint, paint thinners, floor cleaners, sink cleaners, motor oil, antifreeze, and pesticides. Household bleach, disinfectants, cleansers, antibacterial soaps, are safe when used as directed for normal household uses.
  11. Consider regular use of enzyme treatments to replenish beneficial bacteria in the system.
  12. Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Tree and shrub roots can interfere and damage the system. 
  13. Avoid water drainage from gutters and basement sump pumps into or near the septic system.
  14. Reconsider the garbage disposal. An increased amount of solids can overwhelm the system. Upgrade to a larger septic tank and pump more often if you consistently use a garbage disposal.


Contact a qualified, licensed septic system service company to inspect and care for your septic system. A properly maintained septic system provides long-term, effective wastewater management and keeps your home and family happy and healthy.

Has your septic system ever failed? 

Share your comments with me on Twitter and Google+

Subscribe to my ezine Holistic Realty Newsan integrative news source for holistic living.

For more information on septic systems:

A Advanced Pumping


NYS Department of Health

Septic System/Cesspool Information Emil Norsic & Son


Rate this item
(5 votes)

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.