In our province of Ontario, Canada there are one million septic systems in a population of 13.6 million people. So roughly one in 14 in the province are responsible for treating their own wastewater. This is an important responsibility! We need to make sure that our septic systems are working properly so that our waste does not harm the environment or the health and wellbeing of our own families and those that live around us. When septic systems fail they have the potential to contaminate our drinking wells and rivers and lakes that surround us. These systems can be very costly to repair! The good thing is that it doesn’t take much to make sure your septic system remains healthy, helping you avoid some nasty expenses and damages.
Over time a septic system builds up with solid material called sludge. If that sludge is allowed to accumulate it can start to run out over the exit level and flow right into the leaching bed. Once into the leaching bed, the sludge clogs the pipes and the bed itself. If it gets to this point, the most common remedy is to excavate and replace the damaged sections of the drainage field, and in some cases, the entire system.
If your system is too small for the amount of waste that is generated, it will eventually become overloaded. In such cases, the solutions are: frequent tank pump outs (which becomes expensive) or an upgrade which would involve the installation of larger system (which is also expensive). If an overloaded system is not properly addressed, the long term health of the septic system may be jeopardized.
A properly designed and installed septic system will safely treat the the organic waste that you generate. It treats the sewage by letting heavy materials sink to the bottom while bacteria that naturally exist in the waste work to breakdown the solids. The resulting liquid flows through baffles in the tank to the drainfield and is naturally filtered by your leaching beds. Typically a septic tank is required to be pumped out every two to three years as solids accumulation occurs in the tank.
If you are finding that your tank requires frequent pump outs and/or your leaching field is clogged causing bad odors and sewage to accumulate on the surface of your lawn, there is an inexpensive solution available! The addition of a small amount of micronutrient product to your toilet on a monthly basis will bring your system back to health and will even help overloaded systems perform normally. This solution costs only pennies a day, will prevent the need for excavation and repair of your system and will likely reduce the number of septic tank pump outs that your system requires to less than once every five years.
If you are one of those ‘one in fourteen’, a little knowledge can go a long way to saving a ton of money and ensuring a healthy and sustainable ecosystem on your own property.