One of the least studied forms of nutrient and bacteria pollution may be from septic tanks. Both the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds include a large number of homeowners with septic tanks. It’s currently estimated that about 60% of the Coastal North Carolina residences use septic systems. A properly maintained septic tank not only saves you money, but will help keep your family safe from disease, and protect our rivers, creeks and groundwater.
The Environmental Protection Agency has created numerous materials and guides to assist you in understanding and maintaining your septic tank.
Top 10 Ways to be a Good Septic Owner
- Have your system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to your state/ local health department’s recommendations
- Have your septic tank pumped, when necessary, generally every three to five years
- Avoid pouring harsh products (e.g., oils, grease, chemicals, paint, medications) down the drain
- Discard non-degradable products in the trash (e.g., floss, disposable wipes, cat litter) instead of flushing them
- Keep cars and heavy vehicles parked away from the drainfield and tank
- Follow the system manufacturer’s directions when using septic tank cleaners and additives
- Repair leaks and use water efficient fixtures to avoid overloading the system
- Maintain plants and vegetation near the system to ensure roots do not block drains
- Use soaps and detergents that are low-suds, biodegradable, and low- or phosphate-free
- Prevent system freezing during cold weather by inspecting and insulating vulnerable system parts (e.g., the inspection pipe and soil treatment area)