One of the worst maintenance nightmares that any homeowner has to deal with is an overflowing septic system. Whether the problem happens within the house, at the tank, or in the drain field, it is an unsanitary mess that requires professional clean up, followed by any necessary repairs to the septic system to prevent it from happening again.
Most of these occurrences are caused when owners do not understand how such a sewage treatment plan works and unintentionally do things wrong such as putting the wrong things down it or failing to understand what maintenance is required. Anyone who owns a home or building that is serviced by such wastewater treatment should learn how they work and how to keep them properly functioning.
Locate the System
The first step that is necessary to understand the workings of a septic system is to find out where it is located. The tank, septic pump, lines to the drain field, and the drain field itself must all be clearly identified. This should be done by finding a map of the property where the house, its outlying structures, and all parts of the wastewater treatment plan are marked. If it is an effluent dispersal type, the location of all lines, the distribution box, lagoon, and pumps must also be done.
Having this information makes it easier to observe the drain field periodically to be sure it is not having drainage problems. It also indicates areas on a property that should not be built on, dug into, or driven over, since doing so could damage everything that is buried underneath the soil.
Inspect the Tank
To keep the tank in good shape and the whole system flowing, it is vital to know what the tank is constructed from, its capacity, and the date of the last time it was pumped out. The approximate condition of the tank should also be noted; if owners cannot determine such information, a professional septic truck operator should be asked to make that determination. Inspect the condition of the manhole cover and that it seats properly; be sure that the effluent screen is cleaned every time the tank is pumped.
Inspect the Pump
If a septic service should stop operating, be sure to inspect the pump and determine if it is running as it should and whether or not the pump seems to be the right size for the system. The pump switch and any other electrical components should be regularly checked for looseness, frayed wires, corrosion, and bad connections to avoid any problems in this area.
Inspect the Waste Water Distribution System
Whether the home system includes a drain field or a lagoon, homeowners must observe such areas regularly, keep them free of debris or the rooting of plants or trees, and remove any other debris or natural material that could prevent the system from properly dispersing sewage the way the system is designed to work. It would be helpful to learn if any specific maintenance should be done – and then see that it is done regularly. If there is a desire to plant over the area, learn which plantings are acceptable and will not interfere with drainage in any way.
Learning some of this information the first time may involve help from a professional septic truck operator; however, it is still important that it be done. Once a homeowner knows about the septic system, how it was made, and how it is supposed to work, problems can be recognized more quickly, which enables faster repairs. Most of all, learn what can and cannot be put into the septic system and stick to such recommendations. All of this effort will prevent a maintenance nightmare and avoid expensive emergency repairs!