Septic System Care
A Septic System is an expensive investment. Every house which does not have access to city sewer must have a septic system or holding tank. A septic system is sensitive and can be easily abused. There are a few simple do’s and do not’s to help protect your investment. If you would like more information, please read the tips from the Wisconsin Safety and Buildings Division.
Wisconsin Safety and Buildings Division Tips and Advice
- Flush non-biodegradable products like tampons, condoms, diapers, wipes etc
- Dump solvents, oils, paints or poisons down the drain.
- Allow vehicles to drive over your drainfield and compact the soil.
- Conserve water, install water-saving appliances and repair plumbing leaks.
- Limit the use of chemicals that can kill the “good bacteria” in your system.
- Divert downspouts away from your drainfield.
- Have your septic tank pumped and inspected regularly.
- Install a filter to remove lint from your washing machine discharge.
- Minimize use of garbage disposal.
Cleaning Your Filter
Cleaning your filter is very important to prolonging the life of your septic system. The filter is designed to block solids from entering your soil absorption field. Holding tanks do not have filters!! Depending on the size of the filter, it may plug up in 2 months or 3 years. The more water and solids passing through the tank, the more often you have to clean it. The Wisconsin Administrative Code says the filter must prevent anything 1/8 inch and larger from entering your soil absorption field. The filter must also handle the daily flow rate per day from the residence or business. Schroeder Septic’s filters handle a minimum of 4000 gallons/day and prevent anything 1/16 inch and larger from entering your soil absorption field.
Cleaning your filter is very easy and should only take 10 minutes of your day. Depending on the size of your filter, you should check your filter at least once a year. If your filter is 7 inches are smaller you should check the filter twice a year. Try to get in the habit of checking your filter along with other outside chores. Check it in the spring when you first take out your garden hoses or the first time you cut your lawn in the spring. Thus, you will never forgot to clean it. Generally, one of two things happen if your forget to clean your filter. Either the wastewater backs-up into your home or it bubbles out of the top of the septic tank. Both are extremely hazardous!!
Steps To Clean Your Filter:
- Locate the manhole where the filter is installed. The easiest way to locate your filter is by looking at the set of plans for your septic system. The location of the filter depends on the type of septic system and the year it was installed. If you have a gravity conventional septic system (a gravity conventional is a conventional septic system without a pump installed in the tank) and it was installed in 2004 or earlier you should have only one manhole and it should be installed in that manhole. If the gravity conventional was installed in 2005 or later, the filter is located in the manhole closest to the drainfield. If you have a mound, at-grade or lift-up conventional (a lift-up conventional is a conventional septic system with a pump installed in the tank) and it was installed in 2004 or earlier, than the filter will be installed in the manhole closest to the home. If the system was install in 2005 or later, you should have 3 manholes. The filter is probably located in the middle manhole.
- After you locate the filter, remove the appropriate manhole cover. Reach inside the manhole and grab the handle and pull the filter out of the sleeve. Pull the filter all the way out of sleeve but leave it inside the manhole. Do not pull the filter handle to hard or you will break it. If it appears to be jammed, softly wiggle the filter until it comes loose.
- Spray the filter off with a garden hose. Use a garden hose attachment in order to raise the water pressure coming out of the hose. It should take 2-4 minutes to spray off the filter depending on the size of the filter.
- Slide the filter back into the sleeve. The filter and the sleeve has grooves. There is only one way to slide the filter back into the sleeve.