How to Care for Your Septic System
By James Carey and Morris Carey from Home Maintenance For Dummies, 2nd Edition. If you live in a rural area or have vacation property in the middle of nowhere, you’re no doubt familiar with the form and function of a septic system. In brief, a septic system is your very own onsite sewage treatment facility. It’s used primarily where access to a municipal sewer system is neither available nor economically practical. A septic system is out of sight and is odorless (when properly maintained).
A septic system is reasonably maintenance-free. A well-constructed, properly maintained tank could last indefinitely. However, the leach field (the underground area where all of the sewage drainpipes are located) will most likely require some treatment or perhaps replacement after about 15 to 20 years of service.
Following a few simple rules — like not using too much water and not depositing materials in the septic tank that bacteria can’t decompose — should help to make a septic system trouble-free for many years. But don’t forget that the septic tank does need to be cleaned out when too many solids build up.