The Ultimate Guide to Septic System Maintenance

Many rural communities need access to public city sewers, and households rely on septic systems instead. These systems comprise an underground septic tank container and a drain field.

All household wastewater flows into the septic system’s tank, separating harmful microorganisms from clean water. Grease rises to the surface, while heavier solids sink and decompose into sludge.

Regular Inspections

When it comes to your septic system, regular inspections are essential. A failing septic system can cause raw sewage to return to your home, leading to lasting odors, stains, and water damage. Replacing a septic tank costs thousands and can harm your family’s health.

After leaving your home, wastewater enters a septic tank, where solid waste settles at the bottom and forms a layer of sludge. Liquid wastewater, or effluent, rises to the top and is broken down by bacteria. The effluent then flows into a drain field, where it’s absorbed into the soil.

A septic inspector can visually assess the condition of your septic tank and components to detect leaks, corrosion, and other potential problems. They can also check the distribution box (also known as a D-box) for damage, structural integrity, and sagging or wetness that could indicate issues with the drain field.


Septic systems require specialized knowledge and equipment to clean and pump. If you try to do it yourself, you can destroy some of the system’s components or contaminate groundwater with disease-causing waste.

Septic services performing proper septic tank maintenance is essential in ensuring longevity. This includes practicing water conservation, avoiding flushing non-biodegradable items like cigarette butts, diapers, or sanitary napkins, and using aerators and high-efficiency showerheads to reduce household water usage. It is recommended to refrain from planting trees or shrubs near the drain field since their roots can obstruct and harm the septic tanks and leach field pipes. Also, avoiding overuse of household cleaners and detergents can help keep your septic system in optimal working condition. The most important tip is to have your septic tank pumped regularly.

Drain Cleaning

A septic system can be a great convenience, but only if well-maintained. Failure to maintain a septic system can cause it to malfunction, potentially contaminating nearby water sources with sewage waste.

Septic tank pumping needs to be made regularly to prevent the accumulation of sludge and scum that can interfere with wastewater drainage. Proper disposal of household chemicals, such as motor oil, antifreeze, paints, and pesticides, is also essential. These substances kill the bacteria that break down solids in the septic tank.

Water Conservation

Every drop of water that enters your septic system has the potential to impact its lifespan. For this reason, it’s essential to reduce your daily water usage as much as possible. This can be done by repairing leaky faucets and toilets, installing faucet aerators and showerheads that use less water, and staggering washing machine loads throughout the week.

Once household wastewater exits the septic tank, it goes to the drain field, a network of perforated pipes buried in the ground—eventually, the wastewater filters through the soil and into groundwater sources such as drinking water and lakes.


You must know your septic system when landscaping on or around your property. Using landscaping techniques that favor your drain field can help you prevent clogs, overflows, and other problems with the system in the future. To do this, plant only septic-safe plants, avoid tilling the soil, and keep walking paths away from the area.

It is also helpful to learn how to spot warning signs of septic system issues like foul smells, slow draining, and lush patches of grass near the tank or drain field. These signs often indicate an issue with the septic system and should be addressed promptly to avoid expensive repairs. Planting perennials, low-maintenance grasses, and Liriope are good choices as they have shallow roots that are less likely to damage the septic system.