Life really stinks when your septic system fails. Maintaining your septic system probably isn’t something you think about every day, but taking care of it sure does pay off in the long run… for you, your bank account, your neighbors and the planet.
When a septic system for a typical four bedroom home fails, the cost to repair or replace it can run as high as $50,000. That is just for the system itself – homeowners incur additional costs to re-landscape the yard where the system is installed. And those costs are really just the beginning… When a septic system fails, nearby groundwater, drinking water and even surface waters such as streams and ponds can be contaminated. Your family’s health, as well as the health of your neighbors and the other people who depend on the same groundwater source for their homes, is at risk. The same holds true for the plants and animals who share the water.
It doesn’t take a lot of time, money or effort to keep your septic system functioning properly.
- Use water efficiently. Too much water can overwhelm your septic system.
- Have your septic system inspected every 1 to 3 years by a reputable septic tank service contractor and have your tank pumped when necessary (in general, every 3 years). This will typically cost less than $500.*
- If your sinks or toilets are backing up, or you notice areas in your yard that remain wet or moist during dry periods, schedule a septic system inspection immediately.
- Protect the bacteria that break down the waste in your septic system. Use only mild cleaners that are “septic safe.”
- Keep household wastes out of your system – don’t use sinks and toilets as trash cans.
- Plant only grass over and around your septic system – roots from shrubs and trees can clog and damage your drain field.
- Keep cars and other heavy vehicles off your drain field to avoid compacting the soil and breaking the pipes, tank and other components of your septic system.
Protect your family and the investment you’ve made in your home. Be a good neighbor and a good steward of our natural resources. Take care of your septic system.
* New Jersey does not regulate septic inspectors. The state has, however, established an inspection protocol that owners of septic systems may download to learn what an unbiased and comprehensive evaluation of a septic system should include. We recommend that all owners of septic systems review Technical Guidance for Inspections of Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems before hiring an inspector. We also encourage homeowners to solicit bids for repair work if an inspection reveals a septic system problem.
For more information, please visit the sites below:
- A Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems
- Hunterdon County Department of Health
- Morris County Department of Health
- Somerset County Department of Health
- Pennsylvania Septage Management Association
- Septic System Management for Clean Water