Everyone’s favorite septic contractor, Sam Dean at Brandon Septic in Brandon, Florida, has the following “do and don’t” advice for efficient septic system maintenance:

Septic System Maintenance

Do:

  • Spread laundry washing over the week, rather than doing many loads on a single day.
  • Make a record of where the important parts of your system are located for future septic system maintenance – for example, field repairs or tank pump outs.
  • Have professional septic pumping done on a regular basis.
  • Keep records of maintenance, service and pump outs.
  • Use water-saving showerheads and low-flush toilets.
  • Check siphons, pumps and other moving parts of your system regularly.
  • Run water regularly in rarely used drains such as showers, tubs, sinks, etc. to avoid the buildup of noxious gases that can cause indoor odors.

Don’t:

  • Overload your system with high volumes of water.
  • Allow large amounts of solvents, chemicals, or fats to enter the system. And do not allow any plastics whatsoever to enter.
  • Allow heavy equipment or vehicles to park or drive over the drain field. This can compact the soil, crush the piping, and result in serious septic problems.
  • Plant anything over the drain field except grass. Especially don’t cover the field or tank with concrete, asphalt or any other impermeable substance.
  • Above everything else – don’t wait for signs of malfunction. Have a professional septic system maintenance technician perform regular cleaning and servicing.

Note: Be cautious about items marked ‘septic safe’. For example, some cat litter and baby wipes are labeled this way, but it’s not a good idea to flush anything down your toilet other than toilet paper and human waste.