A crane lifting a plastic moulded septic tank into a dirt hole.

In order to care for a septic tank, you need to know how it operates.

A septic tank separates the solids from the liquids and it needs time to do this properly. It can only handle so much water at a time. If your tank is acting up, the first thing you should do is reduce water going to the tank.

  • Check for running toilets
  • Check for leaking faucets
  • Install a low flow or high efficiency toilet
  • Don’t use more water than is required when doing laundry
  • Don’t use ‘cold water only’ washing machine powders or liquids as these interfere with the bacteria

Be sure you’re not flushing or putting down the drain anything non-biodegradable like diapers, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, dental floss, wet wipes, and cotton swabs. These materials can clog the tank and the drain field.

If you have an in-sink disposal unit, use it sparingly. It can clog the drain field and lead to more solid matter in the tank for bacteria to deal with.

There are some great things you can put down the drain that will help the septic tank function better, for example, Fizzy Tabs and septic-safe products like environmentally friendly soaps and toilet papers.

Finally, get the tank pumped regularly!! Getting your tank pumped is a lot cheaper than fixing disposal fields that have been clogged with excess sludge. Depending on the size of your tank and the number of people in your household, it needs to be pumped every three to five years.

Need a new filter? Check out these septic tank bristle filters.

Tips and tricks for septic care

There's a lot to know about septic tanks and our team has decades of experience in this area. Here are a few tips.

  1. Late winter / early spring is a good time to check for root invasion of the septic tank. Root problems often happen when the root finds a crack in a lid that's not secured or a faulty joint between a tank and a riser. You can also find this situation within drainlines and drain fields.
  2. One way to avoid excessive solids is to pump the tank more frequently then backflush some of the liquid into the pipes. When the tank is pumped like this, most of the solids remain. As the tank starts to refill, those solids and scum will float to the top and should get caught by the effluent screen to prevent it from moving downstream into the rest of the system.
  3. Lots of pumpers think they should leave a little in the tank to restart bacterial action after cleaning, but we recommend to everyone that this isn't necessary. Incoming wastewater carries enough bacteria to start the anaerobic digestion process in the tank.
  4. If customers on septic systems are frequently indulging in the use of bath bombs, it could be harming their tanks. Bath bombs can contain solid particles like lavender buds or glitter that won't dissolve and will clog up the plumbing, as will the fats, butters and salts contained within the bath bombs.
  5. If you’re constantly cleaning clogged effluent filters, your customers probably need a refresher on tips that help ease this problem. Obviously the filters may not be the right fit for the job, so have a look at that first. Allflow can supply replacement filters, just email us with your requirements.

Otherwise, the most common factors that can cause clogged screens are:

  • high organic loading
  • high content of fats, greases and oils
  • hair or laundry lint
  • excessive solids through use of a garbage disposal
  • excessive toilet tissue
  • use of sanitisers or medicines
  • high water usage and peak flows