Septic Tanks Make News

Septic Tanks Make News

Experts in the field tell us that the major cause of septic tank failure is neglecting to pump out the tank every one or three years. When too much scum and sludge flow from the tank that is filed with solids the leakage ends up in the drain field and plug up the soil, the sand and gravel. This obviously causes the whole system to back up and fail.

Excessive water used over a short period of time (lots of showers or loads of laundry in one day) and adding harmful chemicals are two more additional causes for septic tank failure. If excessive water enters the system, excessive water must flow into the drain field. All this water stirs up the tank and non-biodegradable products flow out of the tank and into the drain field where they plug pipes.

Other things that cause septic tank failure are: Improper installation or design; Clogged or broken pump in a mound system; frozen pipes or saturated drain fields.

Regarding the bacteria question. Experts tell us that you do not need starters, feeders or other additives to keep your system working. Your system is filled with naturally occurring bacteria. These bacteria will break down all solids if you limit the disposal of harmful products and harsh chemicals into your system.

The University of Minnesota offers more advise. Click on “Environment”, then “Waste Management.”

These are the most common clogs causing materials for your septic system:

  • Tissues (Only flush toilet paper)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Cigarette butts
  • food particles (from disposer)
  • Grease and oils
  • Lint (from clothes washer)
  • Anything that won’t break down.

This is a partial list of chemicals that harm bacteria:

  • Paints and solvents
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Bleach, disinfectants, antibacterial soap
  • Drain cleaners and acids
  • Prescription antibiotics and other medications.

All septic systems have been inspected on Big Fish Lake. Those that are not in compliance are working towards compliance. We congratulate all lakeshore owners who are taking major steps to bring their septic systems into total compliance. Everyone who has a septic system has a responsibility to keep his or her system working properly in order to preserve our God-given environment for future generations.