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Facts Every Septic System Owner Should Know

Before installing your system:
  • Rope off the area of your system and protect it from vehicles.
  • Caution your builder to avoid system area during home construction.
  • Do not allow stripping of top soil or grading in the area of the system.
  • Make sure your well is upslope from system and at least 100 feet away.
  • Keep downspout and footer drains out of your septic system.
  • Seed your system area as soon as weather permits.
  • Divert all surface water from system area.
Conserve water:
  • Water conservation prolongs your system life, saves you money, and need not be a personal inconvenience.
  • Install low flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and install toilet bottle kits or tank displacement devices (if new construction purchase low flow commodes). These devices can save a family of four over 100 gallons per day. Cost for these devices is only about $20-70 and will save $100-300 each year.
  • See your local plumbing supplier and most major department stores.
  • Purchase a front loading washer, they use 1/3 less water than top loaders.
  • Take showers, they use less water than baths.
  • Promptly repair leaky faucets.
  • Use the clothes washer and dishwasher only when you have full loads.
  • Contact your local DER office for more information.
Pump your septic tank:
  • Septic tanks must be pumped regularly (at least every 2-3 years)
  • Tank pumping helps prevent more expensive system problems. Waiting for evidence of system problems (spongy lawn or sluggish toilet) may be too late for pumping to help.
  • Pump your tank through large central manhole, not the small baffle opening.
  • Be sure tank pumper agitates tank contents before pumping. Solids and floating scum must be mixed before removal.
  • Carefully mark the location of your septic tank.
  • Sewage grinders and garbage disposals increase solids build-up in your tank. More frequent pumping should occur.
  • Never enter a septic tank.
  • Information on septic system maintenance can be obtained from the local DER office.
Helpful Hints:
  • Place a copy of your sewage permit and yellow application in a safe place. This information will be important for future use.
  • Before repairing or replacing your system (even a new septic tank), a new sewage permit from the municipal sewage enforcement officer will be needed.
For help or information call your municipal sewage enforcement officer or the local DER office.

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