Frequently Asked Questions!

Courtesy of J.W.Cotton

How often should my septic tank be pumped?

In general septic tanks should be pumped every two years. Definitely do not exceed pumping once every three years. Heavier use may require more frequent pumping.

Do additives reduce the need to pump my septic tank?

No. Septic tanks must be pumped on a regular basis. Commercial septic tank additives are not needed. The bacteria needed to break down the solids occur naturally in sewage.

How do I know there is a problem with my septic system?

There are several indicators of a problem with a septic system.

  1. The ground in the area of the drainfield is always wet or soggy. The grass is greener and fuller than grass in other areas of the lawn.
  2. There is a "sewer smell" – especially after a rain storm.
  3. Water is observed running from the area of the property, which contains the drainfield. (the water could be raw sewage – especially if there is a "sewer smell").
  4. Toilets don’t flush properly, bathtub water takes a long time to drain.
  5. Water test results indicate biological or organic chemical contamination in groundwater under the system.

May I drive over my septic tank ?

In general septic tanks are not made to drive over. If driven over the cover may fail. You should know the location of your septic tank and system components in order to direct delivery trucks, or people working at your property so they will not accidentally damage your septic system. However it is normally safe to operate a lawn mower over your septic system, provided the system is in good condition.

What about old septic tanks ?

Septic tanks should be inspected on a regular basis, normally when they are pumped. If a septic tank is deteriorated, it could collapse. Deteriorated septic tanks should be replaced.

Do I need a permit to fix my septic system ?

Yes. A repair permit is obtained from your local board of health.

Back to Title V page