Your septic system isn’t something you want to think about, but it does an important job. It is also an expensive system that works every day, all day disposing waste and filtering water safely back into the ground. It is vital to take care of it and perform routine maintenance, it is the best way to save money and messy problems.

You may think you know everything about your septic system, but here are a few details that may surprise you.

You can think of your septic tank like a disgusting layer cake

The septic tank has three layers: lighter waste like grease and hair float at the top of the cake, “scum”. The middle is the clarified wastewater called effluent. On the bottom is the “sludge” this is the heavy solids such as food scraps and human. 

The middle effluent water is treated by bacteria in the tank and filtered into the drain field. The bottom sludge builds up over time and will need to be pumped out. 

The gases inside the septic tank can be deadly 

Septic tanks can be very dangerous. That rotten egg smell is from the hydrogen sulfide, in large quantities it can be “immediately dangerous”, according to OSHA. It can kill you, it causes paralysis, after five minutes you collapse, and can result in death. For this reason, never go inside a septic tank! 

Risers can be installed for safety and convenience. This way you won’t have to dig up the manhole cover.

What kind of toilet paper do you use?

While pumping out septic tanks we’ve seen just about everything, diapers, wipes, cat litter, even goldfish. It is important not to flush anything but human waste and toilet paper down toilet. 

We can even tell what type of toilet paper you use. If you use thin septic safe brands like Scott, the top layer is thin and breaking down. But if you use a thick, fluffy toilet paper such as Quilted Northern or Charmin, you will have a thick layer, similar to cotton chunks floating on the top. 

When was the last time your septic tank was pumped?

Nobody wants to think about their Septic Tank or when the last time they had it pumped out, but if we realize how much we depend on our septic system every day, we may take better care of it. You definitely don’t want to overlook your septic system unit it’s backing up or overflowing into your house, forcing you to pay attention!