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Understanding Your Septic System

If you reside outside the city limits of your community, chances are you have an on-site septic system. These systems vary in size, type of system, and design. The following is an introduction to typical systems, and will hopefully provide you with information that is useful in maintaining your individual on-site system. Remember, you are basically operating a small scale sewer plant on your property- don’t just forget about the “tank buried in the backyard”.

This type of system utilizes a rectangular shaped concrete box buried in the ground, with a series of pipes, called a leach field, encompassing a large area of your lawn. Most often, these systems are overlooked until there is a serious problem. Proper maintenance and pumping can help prevent premature failure. Typical lifespan is 20-25 years. Solids accumulate on the bottom of the tank, while Fats/Oils/Grease accumulate on top. The liquid in between is called effluent, and ideally is the only substance allowed into the leach field. Microbes in the soil further breakdown the effluent as it disperses into the soil system. If there is no baffle in place, solids can enter the leach field, and ultimately cause a failure.

ATU systems are commonly referred to by brand names, such as “Multi-Flo”, or as Aeration units. These systems typically utilize an air pump or motor to agitate or introduce air into the tank which helps support the growth of aerobic bacteria for breakdown of the waste. With more moving parts, these systems typically need more maintenance. The effluent that leaves the tank is “clear” water and many systems drain to the ground surface. This is no longer allowed for new systems. The state health department and most manufacturers require maintenance every 6 months. These systems also require pumping every 2-3 years.

DO’s & DON’Ts
It is very important to follow basic maintenance protocol as recommended by the manufacturer and the state and local health departments. Your system can have a positive or negative impact on the environment, including your own property value and the safety/health of your family. Your system is “alive” with beneficial bacteria and can by harmed. The following are recommendations to keep your system efficiently working. Be sure to share these tips with guests, especially those who stay for extended periods of time.


1)Limit traffic on the leach field area- including sheds, gardens, pools, patios/pavers, etc.
2)Avoid watering the lawn above the leach field.

1)Other than toilet paper, if it doesn’t pass through your body first, it shouldn’t enter the tank.
*Do not flush: baby wipes, feminine products, condoms, Q-tips, cigarettes, etc.
2) Limit the use of bubble baths, especially oil beads.
3) Avoid using automatic tank type toilet cleaners.
4) Avoid multiple showers back-to-back.
5) Do not flush unused medication.
6) Avoid using harsh cleaners, especially those with bleach.


1) Do not dump grease down the kitchen drain.
2) Limit the use of a garbage disposal- scrape as much food as possible into the trash.
2) Never rinse out paint, drywall mud, grout/mortar, and other building materials in your drains.


1) Liquid detergents are easier on the system and avoid “caking” in the system.
2) Try to do laundry in loads of 1-2 per day vs. several in one day.
3) Newer high efficiency “he” washers are beneficial.


We offer the following services to assist you in your disposal needs: System evaluation, pumping,
drain clog removal, tree root removal, portable potties, new installations, repair & maintenance.
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