Septic systems are designed to dispose of waste. Steel septic systems can last as long as 15 or 20 years with annual inspections and proper maintenance by septic cleaning services Plastic and concrete tanks can last for 40 years or more. As a general rule, septic tanks should be inspected once every year to make sure they are in proper working order. The EPA also mandates that septic systems need to be pumped out at least once every 3-to-5 years, depending on the size of the tank and the number of occupants in a home.
If you own a home with a septic system you shouldn’t neglect your septic system needs such as septic pumping and disposal. Failure to carry out these maintenance tasks regularly can shorten the life of septic tank and lead to all sorts of issues.
Signs your Septic System is Failing
If you notice water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks backing up into the home could mean that there are broken or obstructed pipes leading from the house to the septic tank, or it could mean that your septic system is full and needs to be cleaned out. Bathtubs, showers, and sinks that are slow to drain are also signs of a failing septic system. Also pay attention for any gurgling or bubbling noises in the plumbing system, as these too can be signs of a problem.
Puddles or damp spots in the drain field near the septic tank, foul odors around the septic tank, bright green grass above the septic tank during dry weather, algae blooms in nearby bodies of water, high levels of nitrates or coli-form bacteria in water wells are also signs of septic failure. Coli-form bacteria are organisms that are present in the environment and in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans. These bacteria can present a potentially serious, and even fatal health risk to humans. If you notice any of these signs, contact a septic tank inspector or a company offering septic cleaning services in your area.
Maintaining the Health of Septic Systems
First and foremost, it is crucial that you know the particulars of your septic system including where it is,how much it’s capacity is, and when it was last pumped out.
If you do not know the exact location and dimensions of your septic system, including the tank and any pipes running from the house to the tank, you can usually find them by referring to the house’s original plans or permits. If you do not have these, a call to your local or county health department’s permit office will usually get you the original permits.
It is also important that you conduct routinely scheduled septic cleaning services and maintenance for your septic system to ensure that it is in good working order. Also be careful not to flush items that are not septic safe such as diapers or hygienic products, as these can lead to obstructions in the pipes and inlet baffles of septic tanks.
Failing septic system can contaminate well water and nearby lakes and rivers. Untreated wastewater is a major health hazard which can cause many human diseases and even death. Once this untreated wastewater enters the groundwater, wells can also be contaminated. If the sewage reaches nearby streams or rivers, it can potentially to the contamination of shellfish beds, fishing grounds and swimming areas.
If you have a septic tank, it is important to conduct routine maintenance such as solid waste removal, regular septic cleaning services, and septic tank inspections to ensure that it is in good working order. Maintaining a functioning septic system also helps protect people and the environment from harmful contaminants that routinely go down our drains.