Living On Karst


Septic System Maintenance Tips

  • Have your tank inspected annually and pumped out every 3 to 5 years by a licensed, professional septic contractor. This is probably the single most important and least costly thing you can do to protect your system. Regular inspections and pumping prevents solids build-up in the tank from clogging distribution lines. Remember: the earlier cracks, leaks, and clogs are detected and repaired, the less potential exists for water supply and karst resource pollution.
  • Most engineers and sanitation professionals believe that commercial septic system additives are, at best, useless, and at worst, potentially harmful to a system. Under suitable conditions, septic systems naturally provide for the safe treatment and disposal of household wastewater. Avoid dumping hazardous chemicals, which would include household cleaners, down the drain. Even small amounts of paint, solvents, waste oil, pesticides and other compounds can kill the beneficial bacteria that break down wastes, and can contaminate groundwater.
  • It is important to protect your septic system from damage. Don't plant anything but grass near your septic systems. Roots from shrubs and trees can damage the tank and lines, and/or become conduits for partially treated sewage to flow downward to the water table. Prevent vehicles from parking on, or driving across, any part of the system to protect tank connections and plastic or tile distribution lines.
  • Divert other sources of water, like roof drains and street runoff, away from the septic field. Excess surface water can erode soil from around and beneath the tank and lines, resulting in subsidence and septic system failure.

Several alternative, comparably priced designs are available that improve wastewater treatment by:

  • Increasing the contact time between wastewater and soils.
  • Equalizing the dispersion of wastewater throughout the drain field (for less channeling).
  • Maximizing the natural adsorption and filtration properties of the soil.

Work with the local health department and extension service to select the best system for your site.



©  Copyright 1997, Cave Conservancy of the Virginias

Special Thanks To The West Virginia Cave Conservancy

Rockcastle Karst Conservancy