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Improperly maintained septic systems can contaminate ground water and surface water with nutrients and pathogens. By following the recommendations below, you can help ensure that your system continues to function properly.

  1. Inspect your septic system annually.
  2. Pump out your septic system regularly. (Pumping out every three to five years is recommended for a three-bedroom house with a 1,000-gallon tank; smaller tanks should be pumped more often.)
  3. Do not use septic system additives. There is no scientific evidence that biological and chemical additives aid or accelerate decomposition in septic tanks; some additives may in fact be detrimental to the septic system or contaminate ground water.
  4. Do not divert storm drains or basement pumps into septic systems.
  5. Avoid or reduce the use of your garbage disposal. (Garbage disposals contribute unnecessary solids to your septic system and can also increase the frequency your tank needs to be pumped.)
  6. Don't use toilets as trash cans! Excess solids may clog your drain field and necessitate more frequent pumping.

(From an EPA Journal article, EPA-22K-1005)