Caring for your septic system
Your sewage system requires careful attention to design, construct and maintain it.
How do I know if there is a problem with my septic system?
If you notice any of the following you may have a problem with your septic system:
- toilets or drains that are backed up or run slowly
- soggy ground around the septic tank or leaching bed area
- surface discharge of sewage in the leaching bed area or around the septic tank
- activated alarm signals (lights or audio bells) on treatment units
- unusually green or thick grass in the area of the leaching bed
What can I do to protect my sewage system?
Your sewage system can provide years of use, as long as it is properly maintained and serviced. Here are some tips to protect your sewage system to get the most out of it:
- Keep accurate records of pumping, maintenance, repair and permits (including an accurate sketch of your sewage system diagram) so you can locate it in the event that renovations, construction or landscaping might impact it. You can get a copy of your sewage system (PDF, < 1 MB) permit through Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
- Have your septic tank pumped at least every 2 to 3 years.
- Use low-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads and repair any leaking plumbing fixtures.
- Ensure all fixture drains are connected properly to the sewage system.
- Flush only human waste and toilet tissue.
- Ensure sufficient grass is on top of your leaching bed to prevent soil erosion.
- Avoid high water flows that may overload the sewage system.
- Ensure that an effluent filter is installed and maintained in your septic tank.
In addition to the above tips, you should avoid discharging harmful items into a septic system that aren’t designed to accept it. Some items can greatly reduce the ability of the beneficial bacteria in your septic system to break down and treat domestic sewage. Others can clog your septic system. These items include:
- paint, varnishes, or solvents
- petroleum products
- grease, fats, or oils
- pesticides, bleach or other chemical solutions
- personal hygiene products (tampons, diapers)
- cigarette butts
- coffee grounds, eggshells, or other kitchen waste
- cat litter
For more information, please speak to a public health inspector by calling Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 or toll-free at 1.866.522.9200.
This item was last modified on May 20, 2020