Helpful tips for a healthy septic system

After a busy time last week, we are catching up with the mail – like this, some important advice left over from a ‘Water Week‘ of useful information. Ask yourself this: how is that septic system working for you? That’s essential because your sewage doesn’t go ‘away’ – it gets processed right there in your yard. And that system works well, if you take good care of it.

tip 1Here are Five Tips in our mailbox about that – how many do you know about already? (We might even throw in some of our own, at the end.)

Tip #1: A worn out toilet flapper can allow water to leak from the toilet tank to the toilet bowl. These leaks often go unnoticed and could send hundreds of gallons of additional water through your septic system each day stressing the system and eventually costing you big bucks. Replacing them is cheap, quick and easy!  Check out this video.

tip 2

Tip #2: Double check that rain water runoff and downspouts on your property are diverted away from your septic system. A properly designed septic system is made to handle a specific amount of wastewater. Extra water can lead to the increased likelihood of expensive repairs or replacement.

tip 3Tip #3: Try to do laundry throughout the week and avoid ‘laundry catch up days’. Washing 5 loads of laundry in one day could send more than 200 gallons of water through your septic system! When too much water goes through your system in a short period of time the solids in the wastewater don’t have enough time to settle in the tank. The solids make their way into the drainfield and can eventually cause you expensive problems.

tip 4

Tip #4: Think at the Sink! Your septic system contains a collection of living organisms that digest and treat your wastewater. Pouring toxins down your drain can kill these organisms and harm your septic system. Whether you are at the kitchen sink, bathtub, or utility sink, remember these rules:
* No chemical drain openers;
* No cooking oil, fats or grease;
* No paints, solvents toxic cleaners;
* Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal.

tip 5Tip #5: Septic systems problems can be expensive and messy. You can avoid troubling repairs and backups by only flushing toilet paper and poo down your loo! Anything else you are tempted to flush should be disposed of in the trash.

Now for some bonus tips:
#6: Know where your septic tank is in your yard. It will need occasional inspecting, and problems observed there can head off more serious issues later.

#7: Register here for a Health Department free homeowner training, to learn more about maintaining your system.
#8:  Take advantage of septic rebates here, available for septic evaluations, equipment installation & septic tank pumping when done by a licensed professional.
#9: To repair or replace a failing septic system, loans are available through a partnership between Whatcom County and a non-profit lender.

For more about either rebates or loans, contact Kate Rice at Whatcom County Public Works: or 360-778-6302.


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