Septic Tank Maintenance – Everything You Need to Know

Wondering about the difference between septic tank maintenance and sewer maintenance? In municipalities with public sewage treatment, the dirty water from sinks and toilets collects in a series of large, centralized filters and tanks. When all the solid, non-organic waste is removed via the filters, the remaining organic waste is treated with bacteria that break down all of the harmful compounds in the fecal matter. What remains is purified with chlorine to kill the bacteria that was just introduced. This clean, bacteria free water is recycled back into the city’s reservoirs.

For communities where there are simply not enough residents living in close proximity to justify building a centralized system, septic tanks are used. Septic tank maintenance is an expense that is paid in lieu of having to pay municipal property taxes to fund and maintain communal sewage treatment. However, because you are paying for your own private sewage treatment, you are also taking on more of the risks associated with something going wrong. But don’t worry too much: there are companies, like Drane Ranger, who can help you manage and mitigate this risk.

Water to water

Septic tank systems are small scale, on-site sewage treatment facilities. Because one household living on an acreage or farm could not possibly have as much purchasing power—or waste—as, say, a town of one thousand people or a big city, they tend to be less sophisticated than the treatment facilities that exist in urban areas. They are still able to manage the wastes your building can produce, but you’ll have to ensure the required septic tank maintenance ( is performed to ensure best performance.

Just like in the cities and towns, a septic tank’s first step is to remove the solid waste from the water that it sits in. Instead of having an elaborate set of filters that remove the non-organic components before the organic stuff is treated with bacteria, a septic tank will typically let the solid waste sink to the bottom, and then expose the remaining sludge to the bacteria as it remains suspended. The water, now being free of all of the harmful bacteria that is found in fecal matter, is free to leave the tank and travel into an adjacent drainage field with highly porous soil, where it seeps into the groundwater and is then absorbed into the root systems of grass and trees. The remaining sludge and solids accumulate in the tank until the tank is full, at which point it must be emptied.

What do you need to know about septic tank maintenance?

The most important part of septic tank maintenance is that it gets emptied every three to five years (this can vary depending on the size of the tank, the number of washrooms one your property, and the amount of use). If this is not done, you will end up contaminating your drainage field with all of the inorganic waste that could not be broken down by the bacteria treatments. Eventually, this waste matter will contaminate all of your groundwater aquifers. Have a professional come out with a vacuum truck, to pump everything out and then transport it for safe disposal. They can also ensure that there are no blockages and that there is no damage to any of the pipes or valves. They can also tell you which products to avoid putting down the drain. Septic system failure can be disastrously messy. Make sure to avoid this by calling the professionals.

What is the Maintenance Process for Septic Tanks?

Septic tank systems aren’t something most people within cities or municipal towns have to deal with, but if you have moved to a farm or the outer edges of a town that doesn’t support your home with their sewer system, you’ll probably have a septic system. Septic systems require a bit more maintenance than the use-it-and-forget-it municipal sewer system. You’ll regularly need to check up on it, and you’ll occasionally need to call in septic tank cleaning companies like Drane Ranger to clean it out and check it over.

If you want to avoid the hassle and costs of a backed up septic system, below will explain the system and the maintenance process for septic tanks.

What is a Septic System?

A septic system is generally a drain system that empties into a large septic tank, which then helps break down organic materials and dispose of excess water into the local soil. Anytime you use a drain in your house, whether it is a sink, toilet, or bathtub, the water and any waste will travel through your plumbing and be deposited into the septic tank. In the septic tank, bacteria will start breaking down the organic materials as they settle towards the bottom, and any excess water at the top will drain into a drain field, aka the drainage field installed in your yard nearby, while avoiding a swampy buildup.

Using Your Septic System

Many people will often just use their septic system like they would any other municipal system, and this can be done to a point. The number one thing you should remember when using a septic tank system is to try to minimize the amount of water usage whenever possible, as draining water through multiple drains/toilets at the same time for too long could overflow your septic tank. Septic tanks also are not garbage dumps. Avoid putting non-organic materials down your drains, and avoid greases or coffees that could cause clogs or damage the septic system and require an emergency call to septic tank cleaning companies. As well, avoid using drain cleaners in your system, as they can kill the bacteria in your septic tank, reducing its effectiveness severely.

Good Maintenance Protocols

Keep Good Records – The first step for any good septic system maintenance is to keep written records. Detail the location of the septic tank, lines, and drain field, including depth. As well, include any work that has been done on it, whether it’s repairs or regular cleanout and maintenance. A good map will help when calling in septic tank cleaning companies.

Annual Inspection – While septic tanks generally don’t need to be emptied out every year, more like every 3-5 years depending on size and use, it’s still a good idea to have it inspected every year, especially if you have cold winters. Septic tank cleaning companies have inspectors that can check the health of any septic tank system, and they may recommend every five years to have your entire system flushed with a high-pressure water jet to remove solid buildup.

Bacteria Additives – You could boost your septic tank’s effectiveness with bacteria additives; however, this should only be done at the recommendation of a professional. This can restore bacteria that has been damaged by household chemicals.

Filter Check – The drain from the septic tank towards the drain field should have a filter, and it should be cleaned or replaced during regular maintenance to prevent build up and sewage backups.

If you are looking at septic tank cleaning companies to set up a regular inspection schedule or maintenance schedule, contact Drane Ranger today to talk to a representative.