Septic System


Without proper care and attention, septic systems will need repairs, which can be costly and lead to environmental degradation. Septic tanks function by allowing solids to settle to the bottom where bacteria decompose them; grease, soap and other oils float to the surface where they form a scum layer; in between is the largest part of the waste, the liquids.

How it Functions

A septic leaching or weeping bed allows liquids only to filter out into the surrounding soil where nutrients are absorbed. The baffles inside the tank prevent the scum layer from moving into the leaching or weeping bed, thereby preventing the flow of liquids from being blocked.

Common Problems

  • Failing to have the tank pumped on a regular basis
  • Using water unwisely for short periods eg: long showers, multiple washing loads for dishes and clothes
  • Failure of the baffles in the tank eg: tree root encroachment
  • Putting hazardous waste in the system
  • Poor maintenance of the leaching or weeping bed

Tips for a Healthy System

  • Don’t put hazardous waste down the drain eg: oils, paint thinner
  • Minimize using high pH detergents, which can kill bacteria
  • Don’t plant trees or shrubs over the leaching or weeping bed, plant ground cover such as grasses; divert eaves trough runoff from the bed area
  • Be aware of wet or damp spots on the bed, odours from the bed which could indicate a blockage.
  • Be a water conservationist by using properly working water saving faucets and appliances, minimize the amount of water that flows into the tank
  • Pump out the tank every three to five years
  • Don’t park or drive vehicles over the leaching or weeping bed