Septic tank and leaching bed safety
Learn about the health risks of wastewater and how to maintain and take care of your septic tanks and leaching bed.
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Possible health risks of wastewater and sewage
Wastewater and sewage can be harmful to humans because it contains disease-causing organisms and toxins. It must go through a treatment process, otherwise it can pollute surface water, groundwater sources and even drinking water
If you have a piped system and if there is an interruption in water service, when service resumes, run water to flush the line to ensure no contamination remains in the system.
Leaching bed safety
- Do not build anything on top of the leaching bed, such as parking areas, deck or storage shed.
- Do not drive vehicles or machinery over the bed, as the weight could crush the distribution pipes or pack down the soil, even in winter.
- Make sure the ground over the leaching bed has a good cover of grass or very shallow rooted plants.
- Do not plant trees or shrubs near the leaching bed.
- The leaching bed should be built such that water does not pool around it. If water does start to pool, contact your environmental health officer for advice.
Septic tank safety
- Make sure you have easy access to your septic tank.
- Complete maintenance regularly:
- Have your septic tank pumped out every 3 to 5 years or when a third of the tank is filled with solids (sludge).You will need a licensed professional to pump and dispose of the waste.
- If your system has effluent filters, clean them out on a regular basis. How often you clean them depends on the filter type and size and the amount of water used in your household.
- Be careful what you put into your septic system. Do not pour down the drain or into your toilet. Doing this could kill the bacteria that break down the organic matter in the wastewater:
- nail polish remover
- other common household products.
- Solids are not digested and can block your system or shorten its life. Never put:
- disposable diapers
- tampons and their applicators
- cat box litter
- cigarette filters
- egg shells or other kitchen waste into the septic system.
- Try to control the amount of water that enters your septic system by reducing the amount of water you use. Some good ways to reduce water use are to:
- fix leaky faucets
- repair running toilets
- use low-flow toilets
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