Caring for Septic Tanks

Making a Septic Tank as effective as possible in the Rock Creek Watershed:

  • Pump tank on a regular basis. More people living at a location = more pumping. In the Rock Creek area older septic systems should be pumped every 18 mths if four or more people are living at the location.
  • Pump tank more often if you have a garbage disposal. Once a year is is a good rule of thumb.
  • Use less water by doing fewer loads of laundry or by using less water in your washing machine. High efficiency toilets, faucet aerators and high efficiency showerheads should be used as well.
  • Use liquid laundry products that are biodegradable – many cleaning products are based on petroleum products, which do not decompose well and end up in our creek.
  • Everything that goes down your drain ends up in the ground water at your house and eventually our creek. So don’t put household chemicals down the drain. For example – paint thinner, pesticides, gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint.
  • Don’t kill the good bacteria by over using bleach and avoid excessive use anti-germ products. They make a septic system less effective – use in moderation.
  • Substitute oxygen bleach or oxy-bleach products for regular bleach. Oxy-bleach is sodium percarbonate which is an excellent detergent and bleaching agent based on hydrogen peroxide and is non-poluting.
  • Don’t Flush sanitary napkins, tampons, medicines, disposable diapers, condoms, dental floss, and other non biodegradable products into your system.
  • Keep record of your maintenance.

Other sources of information on your septic system

  • A Homeowner's Guide to Septic Systems published by the EPA
  • AA County Health Department Septic system guidelines