Sanitary Maintenance Requirements
Proper maintenance of the private onsite waste treatment system is recommend by pumping the septic tank every three years or as needed to prevent premature failure.
The frequency of pumping depends on several factors: size of the tank, usage, volume of solids in wastewater. A tank requires pumping when it is 1/3 full of scum and sludge. Use a stick to poke into the septic tank to measure the amount of sludge in the bottom of the tank. A good pumping interval is every 1 to 3 years.
There are several things you can do to prolong the life of your septic system. Install water-saving devices and be on-guard for leaky fixtures. Water conservation reduces the amount of liquid going into the drainfield. Have the tank(s) pumped and inspected regularly. Keep surface water away from the septic system area including the septic and pump tanks. Keep driveways, parked vehicles and building off the drainfield area. Soil compaction can cause premature failure by restricting the infiltrative and evaporative capability of the soil. The use of pretreatment alternatives such as aeration tanks have been shown to improve effluent quality and moderate or reduce ponding. Understand what can and cannot be put into the septic tank.
Biological and chemical additives are not needed to aid or accelerate decomposition. At this time there is no conclusive data to support the effectiveness of enzymes or any chemical treatment to rejuvenate a failing drainfield. These products are approved by the State of Wisconsin only because they do not harm the septic system.
WARNING! Never enter the septic tank. The septic tank produces gases which can kill a person in a matter of minutes. Never go into a septic tank to retrieve someone. Call for emergency services and put a fan at the top of the tank to blow in fresh air.