Septic Tanks 101

Many homes in the Oneida area have a septic tank to treat wastewater. While many different models and configurations exist for residential septic tanks, they all have the same two main components:

  • A tank for storing wastewater and separating the solids
  • A field bed for filtering and absorbing the water

If you’ve ever had a septic tank problem, you know what a hassle it can be, especially during the winter. However, taking care of your residential septic tank on a regular basis to keep it working properly can help you avoid any unpleasant and costly concerns later on.

How to Take Care of Your Tank

Most residential septic tanks are made of either concrete or plastic buried under the ground. There are several things to consider when maintaining your septic tank:

  • Where your tank is situated in your yard — It’s important to know where your tank is situated to avoid driving over it. Too much weight over your tank can cause it to crack or cave in.
  • Trees and large shrubs — Your septic tank should be kept away from trees and large shrubs. Their roots can create cracks in your septic tank or damage and block your absorption bed.
  • Removing sludge — Every few years, your septic tank needs to be pumped to remove the solid sludge that accumulates at the bottom. Failure to do so can result in a septic tank that overflows and fails to treat your wastewater properly.

Watch What You Put Into Your Tank

All of the wastewater from your home goes into your septic tank. This means you need to pay close attention to everything you flush and pour down the drain. There are a few general rules you can follow:

  • Never put solids down the toilet — These may include diapers and cloths, which can clog your plumbing because they won’t be able to break down in your septic system.
  • Avoid putting grease, coffee grinds, and cooking fats down your drain — These take a long time to break down and can disturb the natural bacteria in your septic tank that’s necessary for proper functioning.
  • Limit the amount of water you use — Not only will this lower your residential water bill, but it will also put less strain on your septic tank. Most household products are okay for your septic tank in small quantities.
  • Never put chemicals like acetone, oil, or paint into your septic system — These cannot be treated by your system, and they can cause serious pollution problems in your yard.

When Your Tank Needs Attention

It can be tempting to try commercial products that claim to ‘activate’ or ‘improve’ your septic tank, but these are not necessary. If you follow our guidelines for maintaining a proper septic tank, nature will take care of your wastewater. If you’re not sure if your septic tank is working properly, or if you have problems with your drain flow, Mr. Rooter can help. We service Oneida and the surrounding area, so give us a call and let us know how we can help you with our residential plumbing services and septic tank maintenance.