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How to Keep Your Septic System Working

If your home isn’t connected to a municipal sewer system, the waste that passes through your plumbing still needs to be treated somehow. If you live in a rural area, you may have a septic system where waste is broken down by healthy bacteria.

A properly installed septic system can last up to 50 years, but if not properly maintained by a professional, it can cause environmental and health issues for your land and your family. How a Septic System Works Every time you flush a toilet, run the tap, take a shower or do a load of laundry, the wastewater goes from the house to the septic tank. From there, solids are broken down by bacteria and either sink to the bottom or float to the top. The liquid that’s left between the two layers is then pushed through a system of pipes called a septic field, which spreads it across an area, where it’s purified by soil. Septic System Maintenance It’s important to have the system inspected by a professional plumber or septic company once a year. They’ll measure the levels of waste to see if your tank needs to be pumped and check all the components of your system including the septic field. Yearly inspections will help detect problems that may otherwise go unnoticed until there’s a major problem. Because the solid waste stays in the tank, it needs to be emptied by a professional periodically. How often you get your septic tank pumped depends on a number of factors, including how many people use it and the size of the tank itself. The general rule of thumb is to have your septic tank pumped once every three to five years, but the plumber who inspects your tank will be able to give you a more precise idea of when you need it to be done. What You Should Do at Home Besides professional maintenance, keep your septic system in good shape by avoiding these common habits: • Don’t flush anything except human waste and toilet paper including tissues, food, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, baby wipes and diapers • Don’t plant anything but grass, drive or install heavy structures (like a shed) on top of the septic field to avoid compacting the soil • Don’t use bleach or other household cleaners for your toilet and sinks, because they can kill the bacteria needed to break down waste; use natural products like vinegar and baking soda instead • Don’t use a garbage disposal, which can double the amount of solid waste in your septic tank Never attempt to open or pump your septic tank yourself. The raw sewage, gases and fumes inside can be extremely dangerous and even cause death. Hire a Licensed Plumber to Inspect Your Septic System Black Forest Plumbing serves Markham, Richmond Hill and the rest of the GTA. Call us today for an appointment. Book A Service Appointment


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