A cesspool system that is properly maintained will serve a home satisfactorily for many years. However, without adequate care and attention, even the best system will give problems and become a burdensome expense. Due to the way a septic system handles waste, it needs regular maintenance to keep it working effectively.
Cesspool maintenance involves the regular removal of accumulated sludge from the bottom of the tank that may cause the system to clog. Failing cesspools are expensive to repair and replace and poor maintenance is often the reason. Problems can be avoided if homeowners know how the system works and how to avoid problems from occurring in the first place. One of the main reasons to maintain a cesspool is to avoid costly repairs, so when a problem gets out of hand you should get help from a professional cesspool service company as soon as possible.
One of the most important things to avoid crushing the cesspool by driving over it. A cesspool system is made of concrete, cement block, or bricks with pipes running in and out of it. Any type of heavyweight vehicle will destroy the walls or roof resulting in the release of raw sewage into the yard. When this happens you are in for costly repairs or thousands of dollars in a replacement.
Septic systems designed to separate and store waste need to be cleaned out regularly to prevent clogging and overflowing. A simple test that can be carried out to determine the level of waste in the tank is to use a dipping stick long enough to reach the bottom of the tank or well. When examined, the sludge level should be one-third less than the height of the tank. If the level is higher you will have to pump the sludge out.
Because septic systems have drain fields, there are additional maintenance steps to perform. To prevent the risk of rupture, the front and rear baffles must be regularly cleared of sludge. Common signs that the baffles are damaged include foul odors or lust vegetation around the drain field.
A septic tank has a T-shaped outlet to prevent scum and sludge from flowing out of the tank. If the top of the layer of sludge is within twelve inches of the outlet or the scum layer is within 6 inches of the bottom of the outlet, the tank needs to be pumped.
An average septic system needs to be inspected by a service company at least every 3 years and septic tanks should be pumped every 3 – 5 years. Systems with mechanical components, pumps, and electrical switches should be inspected at least once a year. A service contract will cover mechanized parts on alternative systems. Keep records of all maintenance work performed and write down the scum and sludge levels, as well as any repairs done for future reference.
The drain field is an important component of the septic system. It removes contaminants contained in the liquid that flows from the septic tank.
• Never drive or park a vehicle, boat, or mobile home on the drain field.
• Avoid tree roots from growing into the system by planting them a safe distance away.
• Do not place sump pumps, roof drains, or other drainage systems close to the drain field area as excess water can slow down or stop the effectiveness of the wastewater treatment process.
Caring for your cesspool also involves keeping a close watch on what goes down the drains and the toilets. The more water a household uses the less efficient the septic system will be. The efficient use of water will improve the operation of the system and reduce the risk of failure.