Spring Maintenance Tips for Septic Systems

Many installers do not wish to take on the task of maintaining septic systems, but these systems all require maintenance and providing a maintenance service helps to get the cash flowing earlier in the spring than waiting for the install season to begin.  Spring is a good time to do annual maintenance inspections to see if systems are functioning as they should.

The annual snow melt can saturate the ground, causing run-off to back-up into the septic tank if the lid/access opening is not above grade.  A rising groundwater table can infiltrate the septic tank if the tank is compromised in some way.

Annual inspections and maintenance of septic systems help them to function better and last longer which is good for the industry and good for the client.

Here are some things to check:

  • Does the tank need to be pumped out? Partner with a reputable pumper.
  • Does the effluent filter need to be cleaned? A clogged effluent filter can stop the flow of effluent to the field, effectively killing the pump as the pump runs and runs, but the effluent doesn’t go anywhere. If the effluent has nowhere to go, it can back up into the house.
  • Is there an effluent filter present? If not, perhaps the homeowner might consider having one installed after market. A maintained effluent filter helps the soils component of the septic field last longer.
  • Is the high-water alarm functioning? Is there a high-water alarm? Again, this is an inexpensive item that can be installed at any time in the life of a septic tank that provides good protection for the homeowner. Tip: the high-water alarm should not be wired to the same breaker as the pump.
  • Is the pump working properly? Check the amperage and the breaker. Make sure the pump is pumping.
  • Is the septic tank lid properly secured? Is it cracked or broken? Is it at grade? Exposing a buried tank lid and installing a riser and above-grade lid helps with annual maintenance and pumping.
  • Is the soils component (field or mound) in good condition? Is there water ponding on it or leaching out at the toe? Is the ground spongy? Check this area for signs of failure.
  • If there are monitoring ports, check them for ponding effluent.
  • If there are cleanouts installed, run pressure through the lines to scour the lines and check the squirt height.

While these are not the only inspection and maintenance tasks you can perform on a system, they are a good start.  Providing a maintenance program for your customers ensures that the system will be maintained, which means longer functionality and less likelihood of a system causing a public health or environmental problem.  It provides installers with work in the off-season and ensures repairs take place when needed.  Consider offering a maintenance service to your customers; it’s just good business.