Leaching System Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Have the system inspected and pumped at a minimum of every 3 years. If an excess accumulation of solids is allowed to build up in the tank, solids will then pass on to the leach field and clog it.’
  2. Know the location of the septic system and drain field, and keep a record of all inspections, pumping’s, repairs, contract or engineering work for future references. Keep a sketch of it handy for service visits.
  3. Grow grass or small shallow rooting plants (not trees or shrubs) above the septic system to stabilize the soil. Do not irrigate over the leach field.
  4. Install water-conserving devices in faucets, showerheads and toilets to reduce the volume of water handled by the septic system. Repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets, run washing machines and dishwashers only when full, and avoid long showers.
  5. Divert roof drains, footing drains, sump pumps away from the septic system.
  6. Take leftover hazardous chemicals to your approved hazardous waste collection center for disposal. Use bleach, disinfectants, and drain and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with product labels.


7. Do not dispose of non-biodegradables (oil, cigarette butts, diapers, feminine products, etc.) or grease down your sink or toilet. These items can clog pipes and ruin leach fields. 

8. Do not put paint thinner, polyurethane, anti-freeze, pesticides, dyes, disinfectants, water softeners, and other strong chemicals into the system. These can cause major upsets in the septic tank, damage the leach field and pollute the groundwater. Small amounts associated with normal use of standard household cleaners, drain cleansers, detergents, etc. will be diluted in the tank and should cause no damage to the system. 

9. Do not use a garbage grinder or disposal, which feeds into the septic tank unless the septic tank and leach field are specifically designed for it. If you do have one in the house, severely limit its use. Adding food wastes or other solids reduces your system’s capacity and life span and increases the need to pump the septic tank. If you use a grinder, the system must be pumped more often.   

10. Do not plant trees which will grow to have a drip line within 10 feet of your system. Tree roots can clog your pipes. 

11. Do not drive or park over any part of the system unless the system has been designed for heavy traffic (H-20).  

12. Do not allow anyone to repair or pump your system without first checking that they are licensed system professionals. 

13. Do not perform excessive laundry loads with your washing machine. Doing load after load does not allow your septic tank time to adequately treat wastes and overwhelms the entire system with excess wastewater. You could therefore be flooding your drain field without allowing sufficient recovery time. You should consult your tank professional to determine the gallon capacity and number of loads per day that can safely go into the system. 

14. Do not use chemical solvents to clean the plumbing or septic system. “Miracle” chemicals will kill microorganisms that consume harmful wastes. These products can also cause groundwater contamination. 

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