Thousands of residents in the Wascana Creek Upper Qu’Appelle Watershed utilize septic systems for domestic wastewater disposal. The best way to keep your system in good working condition is to have your system periodically inspected and pumped. Preventing your system from failure saves you money and prevents health risks to people and wildlife.
Open Septic System
If you have an open septic system, it is your responsibility to prevent raw sewage from overflowing and leaching into surface water and groundwater. Remember, seepage of sewage not only causes a health risk to people, pets and wildlife but can contaminate groundwater, lakes, rivers, streams, and drinking water. It can also contaminate surface waters rendering recreational activities unsafe. Common pollutants in household wastewater are phosphorous, nitrogen, disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
Closed Septic System
If you are upgrading your septic system, you need to install a closed tank system. This is the most environmentally sound system available and is enforced by the Saskatchewan Government.
Whether you use an open or closed septic system, effectively maintaining your system, saves you money! Here’s how:
- Restrict the use of your garbage disposal; it adds solid waste to your tank costing you money to empty more frequently.
- Don’t put harmful chemicals such as solvents, oils, paints, pesticides or disinfectants into your system. These can kill bacteria essential to the breakdown and purification of your sewage.
- Use environmentally friendly, plant-based, nontoxic and septic safe cleaning products.
- Check with your septic tank dealer to determine if a commercial additive is necessary. Bacteria are naturally present in the sewage and will break down the waste. If there is a concern contact a professional first.
- Don’t put debris, cooking oils or grease into the system. Bacteria cannot break it down.
- With an open system keep the drain field covered with grass. Grass and soil microbes digest and remove harmful bacteria, viruses and nutrients before they reach the groundwater.
- Do not grow trees or shrubs on or within 10 feet of your drain field. Tree roots damage the pipes.
- Do NOT drive on or use any impermeable solid material over your drain field.
- Limit your water use. Septic systems do not like to be overloaded. It does not give the system enough time to adequately treat waste.
- Contact your septic system professional immediately if a foul order is emitted or you have damp, soggy or a flooded drain field area.
- Hot tubs and pools should NOT be drained into your septic system or onto your drainage area. It overloads the system and stirs the solids.
- If you have a water softener and use large amounts of water consider an alternative drain route. A heavy influx of water from your softener can stir up solids in tank.
- Remember your septic system is a living ecosystem. What you put in to it and how you care for it determines its ability to function effectively.