In The Zone

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Jul 24

Taking Care of your Septic System

Posted on July 24, 2020 at 11:21 AM by Karola Dalen

Most septic system owners are aware of the basic maintenance required to keep your septic system operating smoothly:  have your tank(s) pumped at least every 3 years. However, there are a few other easy things you can do to help extend the life of your system.


If you have an effluent filter at the outlet of your septic tank, or between your septic tank and pump tank, be sure to clean in regularly.  Remove the maintenance hole cover, pull the filter out, and spray the filter clean with a garden hose, ensuring that the spray is directed back into the tank through the maintenance hole.  Do this at least every spring and fall when you take your garden hose out of storage and again before you put it away for the winter. This will prevent unwanted sewage backup. If you’re not sure if you have a filter, ask your maintainer the next time you have your tank pumped.

effluent filter

Second, there is no need to add additives.  These products, designed to aid in the breakdown of solids in the septic tank, do more harm than good.  These additives can liquefy solids allowing them to flow into and plug your drainfield. 


Next, maintain a mowed lawn over your drainfield or mound.  Woody plants have root systems that can damage the soil treatment system - this applies to the septic tank area too.  Short grass helps with rainwater runoff and evaporation of any excess water. It is ok to let the grass grow longer in the fall to provide some extra insulation for under the snow.  Speaking of snow, avoid compacting snow over the soil treatment system from snowmobiles or other means.

septic system mound

Finally, a reminder to secure your maintenance hole covers. If you have newer plastic lids, make sure they are securely screwed down with stainless steel screws.  One or two screws are not enough - please use all available screw holes to provide the maximum safety benefit. Heavy concrete lids work well too.


If you ever have questions about your septic system, feel free to contact us at the Carlton County Zoning & Environmental Services Office.


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