The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector
Dear Barry: I’m a “city boy” who moved to the country about four years ago. My new home has a septic system, something unknown where I previously lived. Can you please give me some information on the care and feeding of a septic system. John
Dear John: Maintaining a septic system is not difficult. The main thing is to protect the bacterial environment inside the tank. This is essential to the decomposition of solid waste. You should avoid draining your laundry into the septic system because some detergents can kill the essential bacteria. You should also minimize wastes that could clog the system, such as garbage disposal effluent or flushed baby wipes.
It is also a good idea to add some bacterial culture about once a year. This is sold in most hardware stores and can simply be flushed down the toilet. And be sure to have the system professionally inspected about every 3-5 years.
A Google search of septic system maintenance will provide much additional information.