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Septic Systems

Maintaining your septic system can not only protect local waters, it also can save you money by preventing costly repairs.

Inspect And Maintain Your Septic System

Failing septic systems contribute to stormwater pollution. These inspection guidelines and everyday actions can help keep your system functioning properly:

  • Have your tank pumped out regularly, based on inspection results. Typically, it will need pumping every 2-5 years, depending on system size and use.
  • If you have an advanced treatment unit, keep your maintenance contract active. Not only is this a condition of your DEM OWTS approval, your system will fail without regular maintenance, resulting in costly repairs.
  • Do not waste money on system additives. Research shows that some can damage your septic tank, and none have been found to have long-lasting benefits.
  • Do not discharge water softener backwash brine to the septic system. This can cause septic tank solids to move into the drainfield, causing clogging. Instead, discharge the brine to a separate dry well or galley.
  • Aside from wastewater, toilet paper is the only other thing that should be flushed.
  • Don’t put food down your sink, and don’t use a kitchen garbage disposal.
  • As much as possible, reduce your water usage. It reduces the load of wastewater your system has to handle.
  • Balance your water usage throughout the week. For example, don’t do all your laundry on Saturday. Spread the chore out over the week.
  • Do you have a temporary line discharging wash water above or on the ground? If so, plan to fix it in the long run, but for now, make sure that the discharge is flowing away from pavement and storm drains.

Download A Printable Factsheet

How Healthy Is Your Septic System?

The New England Onsite Wastewater Training Program

The New England Onsite Wastewater Training Program (NEOWTP) mission is to educate the public and wastewater practitioners on onsite wastewater systems, advance the use of conventional and innovative and alternative technologies to improve and protect public health and water quality, and to encourage sustainable development in the New England region. Please visit their program’s website for information about wastewater practitioners.