Many rural residents use septic tanks instead of public sewers to dispose of their wastewater, but septic systems must be maintained regularly to continue working properly.
If your household uses a septic system, keep in mind these quick tips to keep your family and community safe and healthy:
• Clean your effluent filter every 6 months.
• Pump your tank every 3-5 years.
• Don’t flush anything besides toilet paper (not even “flushable” wipes).
• Only allow soap, dishwater and wash water from produce down your drain.
• Don’t use septic tank additives like Rid-X (they can lead to a clogged drainfield).
Visit the EPA’s Septic Smart website to learn more about best practices for septic systems.
Neglecting or misusing a septic system can have serious consequences, including sewage backing up into your home, contamination of groundwater and harm to the environment, and it can lead to a high price tag to repair any damage.
Watch for signs of a failing system, such as a pool of water near the drainfield, slow drains or sewage backup. Contact a septic service provider right away if you suspect any issues.
If you have any questions about septic tank maintenance or finding a service provider, contact the Dallas County Environmental Health Department at 515-993-3750.
Natalie Peters is the community health educator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.