What Everyone Should Know About Septic Tank Systems

If you are like most people, you know very little about your septic tank systems. This is understandable! In urban and suburban areas there are sewers to carry household waste to municipal wastewater treatment plants. In more rural areas, however, septic tank systems provide the functions of both sewers and treatment plants. All household waste is disposed of through the septic system. The proper operation of the septic system is essential to health, property value and the ecology.

Cut Away View of Your Total Septic System

Helpful Hints for Maintaining your Sewage System

  1. Have the septic tank pumped out every 2-3 years. This will remove the accumulated sludge and scum which would otherwise reach the tile field and cause blockage resulting in a malfunctioning sewage system and therefore costly repairs. This is the single most effective maintenance service to ensure a long-lasting sewage system.
  2. It is always wise to practice water conservation.
  3. Use soaps and detergents that are low in phosphates. Most automatic dishwashing detergents contain high concentrations of phosphates.
  4. Do not flush hazardous chemicals such as paints, varnishes, thinners, waste oils, pesticides, photographic solutions etc.
  5. Do not flush coffee grinds, dental floss, disposable diapers, kitty litter, sanitary napkins, tampons, cigarette butts, condoms, fat, grease, oil, paper towel etc.
  6. Do not allow vehicles including snow machines and ATV's to park on or drive over the area of your yard which contains the septic system
  7. Divert roof drains, surface water, sump pumps and house footing drains away from the sewage system
  8. Sewage systems should have a good cover of grass, ventilation and sunlight. Trees and shrubs should not be planted over sewage systems. However, trees and shrubs planted between your sewage system and a water course would be beneficial to the environment.
  9. Be alert to this signs of a failing system:
    • Sewage surfacing over the tile field
    • Sewage back-up in the house
    • Mushy ground or greener grass in the area of the septic system
    • Slow draining toilet or drain
    • Sewage odors


Following these hints will help to ensure a long-lasting sewage system, avoid expensive repairs or replacements, protect public health and protect the environment.

Cross Section of a Healthy Septic Tank

Organic solid material floats to the surface and forms a layer of what is commonly called "scum". Bacteria in the septic tank biologically convert this material to liquid.

Inorganic or inert solid materials and the by-products of bacterial digestion sink to the bottom of the tank and form a layer commonly called "sludge".

Only fairly clear water should exist between the scum and sludge layers. It is this clear water - and only this clear water - that should overflow in the soil absorption area.

Cross Section of a Contaminated Septic Tank

Solid material overflowing into the soil absorption area should be avoided at all costs. It is this solids overflow that clogs soil pores and causes septic systems to fail. Two main factors cause solid material to build up enough to overflow: Bacterial deficiency and lack of sludge removal.

Bacteria must be present in the septic tank to digest the organic solids. Normal household waste provides enough bacteria to digest the solid UNLESS any harm is done to the bacteria. Bacteria are very sensitive to environmental changes. Many home-care products used in most homes every day will destroy bacteria. Check the labels of the products you normally use.

All of the the services required for proper maintenance of your septic tank system can be provided by Ace Septic Pumping.

Locating Your Tank and Lines

If you do not know where your tank is located don't worry! We have a solution to that problem!

We flush a small electronic sending unit and then we can tell where your tank and lines are located.

When a Simple Septic Tank Pumping Just Won't Do - More Complex Problems

If your problem is more complex, all is not lost! There are alternative repairs that can be made to inground break-downs. These problems can be identified by an on-screen visual aid which can be easily viewed by you explained by us so that you can have a better understanding of the complication that has occurred in your system.

This vehicle should be the only one you see, every 2-3 years if all is working properly!


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