Ways to keep septic systems in tip-top shape


Most of us know that to live a healthy life, it is important to see our doctor for regular checkups. The same can be said for your home sewage treatment system (HSTS) – regular maintenance can help your HTST have a long, healthy life.

Your HSTS is like a mini-wastewater treatment plant right in your yard. Routine pumping and inspection of your septic tank can help your tank last 20 to 30 years. How often to pump depends on the size of your tank and the number of people using it, but generally speaking, every three years is the minimum recommendation of the Delaware General Health District.

Your toilet is not a trash can. Neither are your sinks. Do not dump/flush these items: Fats/oils/grease, tissues, cigarette butts, feminine products, condoms, wipes, diapers, paints, pesticides/herbicides, medications or bacterial additives.

There are three excellent reasons for taking care of your HSTS. First, proper attention given to your system will save you money in the long run. Failing systems are expensive to repair or replace, and poor maintenance is a common cause of system failures.

Further, a well-functioning HSTS protects the health of your family and local streams, lakes and rivers. Inadequately treated household wastewater released into the environment can pose significant health risks to wells, groundwater, drinking water sources, and local waterbodies. Infectious diseases, gastrointestinal illnesses, and hepatitis can be contracted from contact with contaminated water.

Lastly, a failing systems can affect property values, not just for you, but also for your community. Household wastewater is brimming with bacteria, viruses, nitrogen and phosphorus. If your system is not working well, your system could be churning out untreated sewage, polluting the local streams, rivers, and lakes that you and your community depend on for commercial or recreational activities.

All of the water your household sends down the pipes winds up in your septic system. Efficient water use can improve the operation of your system. Learn how much water you use and discover excellent water conservation ideas at the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District’s website and watch a 40 second video called “Squishy Feet.”

For detailed information about home sewage treatment systems, contact Delaware General Health District at www.delawarehealth.org/sewage or 740-368-1700.

Be the change for clean water. Prolong the life of your home sewage treatment system. Pump it out!


By Bonnie Dailey

Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District

Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to https://soilandwater.co.delaware.oh.us/.

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