Maintain your system!
to set up maintenance for your wastewater system.
Your new onsite wastewater treatment system requires specific management to ensure maximum efficiency, to minimize life cycle cost and to meet provincial regulations. Failure to comply with the procedures may cause your system to malfunction, which may result in a health hazard.
Have your system maintained by a certified professional in accordance with the maintenance plan required by provincial regulation.
Conserve water and practice “Drain Awareness”
- Space laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the week.
- Use detergent that is low-sudsing, low or free of phosphates. Use manufacturer recommended amounts. Using too much soap reduces your system’s ability to treat waste by emulsifying and suspending unwanted oils and grease.
- Use cleaners that are biodegradable or non toxic.
- Use “low flow” faucets, fixtures and appliances (toilets, taps, showers, dishwashers, washers etc.).
- Fix leaking fixtures ASAP. Leaking faucets can exceed designed daily flow limits. Exceeding system limits can result in poorly treated effluent and can unnecessarily strain your treatment system & dispersal field.
- Check your toilets annually for leaks. Dye tablets or food coloring in the tank without flushing will make leaks visible.
- Compost leftover foods instead of rinsing down the drain or using a garbage disposal. Undigested organic material may overburden your system, which may lead to poor performance, more frequent pumping and possible premature failure of your system.
Make your property “Septic Friendly”
- Water gardens and lawn conservatively. Utilize drought resistant plant species.
- Prevent or remove large invasive roots in or near your system as they can be potentially damaging.
- Ensure lids, valves, inspection ports and openings are accessible so proper maintenance can be easily performed.
- With pressurized systems, have surface access to ends of distribution pipes This is required by the British Columbia Sewerage System Regulation
- Limit foot traffic on or near your dispersal field. Compaction limits the soil’s ability to accept the amount of water for which it was designed. Effects can be detrimental for the entire system.
Know your system
- Keep copies of maps, drawings and maintenance records for your system. Some municipalities may request you submit copies of maintenance reports. Consult local regulations for more information.
- Check & prevent surface water, interceptor drains & roof drains from intruding water into the system. Treatment systems are not designed to accommodate the amount that outside water sources introduce. Exceeding system limits can result in poorly treated effluent & can unnecessarily strain your treatment system & dispersal field.
- Know the locations of components such as dispersal field, tanks, pipes, electrical wires & access points.
- Know what your system is capable of treating per day. Your system was designed for the house to which it is connected. Adding flows from the existing dwelling could mean a required upgrade to the wastewater system.
Do Not - Use septic tank additives! Your system has all the bacteria it needs, which occurs naturally for free! Additives may harm your system and/or decrease performance.
Do Not - Put non-biodegradable or toxic materials down the drain or directly into the tanks. An incomplete list:
- Coffee grounds, tea bags, cigar/cigarette butts, gum, hair, plastic, metal, cloth, feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, kitty litter, diapers, wood or paper towels. These types of items do not biodegrade in your system. They can become caught in pumps or inlet/outlets possibly causing component damage or failure. Since the items do not biodegrade, they will contribute to more frequent pump outs.
- Fats, oils or grease, toxic petroleum products, paint (even latex based), thinners, poisons, or any other type of chemical waste. These items will reduce functionality and harm your system.
- Antibacterial soap, over use of cleaners & disinfectants. Scientifically it is proven that “regular” soap works just as well as antibacterial soaps.
Do Not - Park or drive anything ON or NEAR your system. Even large amounts of foot traffic can compact soils. Broken pipes, wires or soil compaction may require large, costly repairs.
Do Not - Plant large trees or plants with large invasive roots near your system. Root intrusion may damage tanks, dispersal fields and other components. Repairs and replacement parts may be costly.
Do Not - Use a garbage disposal or garburator. If your system was not designed to handle the additional capacity required, a garbage disposal will increase the Biological Oxygen Demand (B.O.D.) higher than the system can handle. Making your system process this undigested material will reduce its overall ability to break down the waste as designed.
Do Not - Allow water from pools, hot tubs, water softeners, roof drains, sump pumps or any other outside water sources. Your system was not intended to handle the additional capacity.
Do Not - Bury access lids or block access to alarms, panels or other components. Buried components can be difficult to find, adding additional time and cost to perform the regular maintenance that your system requires. Alarm conditions may be over looked if an electrical panel is blocked.
Do Not - Empty Recreational Vehicle (R.V.) waste into your wastewater system. These tanks contain harmful substances such as formaldehyde which kill the natural bacteria in your system.
Do Not - Open or attempt to enter any of the tanks! These tanks will contain harmful gases that can be potentially fatal. Don’t risk your life! Call a professional!
Do Not - hesitate to call a maintenance professional. Most problems can be fixed if addressed in a timely manner. Regular maintenance routinely reveals these issues before they become emergencies.