Property Factors

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Septic System Maintenance

I have always liked homes with septic systems and well water rather than sewers and city water. That is because I like living farther out than cities can economically run water mains and sewers. I also like the idea of being of being independent of government bureaucracy as much as possible. I have never had a problem with my septic system. Part of the reason is that it was properly laid out and installed and part of it is that I maintain it.

Here is what works for me:

1. I have my septic system inspected every year. This is cheap insurance against a major problem requiring major surgery, meaning major money. Also, I never open up the tank cover and neither should you. (unless you are an expert) There is bad stuff down there. I let the pros do their thing.

2. Faucet drips and toilets that keep on running are fixed ASAP. Too much water is not a positive for septic systems.

3. I have diverted my downspouts so they drain away from the septic field.

4. Septic systems are not compost piles. I do not dump my coffee grounds, leftovers or food down the drain.

5. Septic systems are not meant to dispose of tampons, litter, the kitty or people kind, or trash.

6. Without getting too preachy, bring your car’s used oil to a disposal station, rather than putting it down the drain. The same goes for cooking oil, toxic chemicals, paint, and poison. Duh!

7. If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it is working properly, not just gumming the food waste.

8. I never take out the sink strainer, except to clean it. This helps keep large bits of food out of the septic system.

I am also very conscientious about telling my visitors and guests about the basics of what they cannot try to flush away. After a visit by a particularly dense, (apparently he had never used facilities hooked up to a septic system), relative, I went to my local boating supply store and picked up a bunch of small signs that boaters put next to their marine heads to keep sanitary napkins and such out of the holding tanks. (RV stores should have them also.)

The signs say: “Please Do Not Put Anything Into The Toilet That You Have Not Eaten First.” Yes, there are folks who ask me, usually a bit sheepishly, if was okay that they used the toilet paper.

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