Refer to These Tips and Insights from Coulter’s Septic Service Often

Over the last 45 years we have encountered many unique circumstances with septic system situations. The following DO's and DON'T's are helpful tips to keep in mind.


  • When buying real estate, avoid expensive surprises and protect your investment. Include in your offer a requirement that the seller be responsible for the final septic pumping and inspection. You may even request to be present for this procedure.

  • Have your tank pumped every two to three years depending on the capacity of your system, the size of your family and your overall usage.

  • Use smaller amounts of water over longer periods of time. This gives the solids in your tank time to settle and your leaching bed time to absorb and prevent saturation.

  • Spread laundry over several days, keep showers short, run clothes washers and dishwashers only when full to ensure using the least amounts of necessary water.

  • Building sump pumps and roof, patio and driveway runoffs should be directed to splash pads away from the leaching bed to help prevent field saturation.

  • Use only the smallest amounts of liquid soap necessary for your task as soap build-up tends to clog your pipes.

  • Install effluent filters on the outlet pipe. These prevent particles from flowing out to the septic field and have been mandatory on all new septic tanks since January 2007.

  • Have effluent filters cleaned at least once a year to prevent clogging and back-ups into your home.

  • Risers, which also became mandatory in January 2007, expose your tank lids to the ground surface for easy access, so you don’t have to dig up your lawn every time you have your tank pumped.


  • Laundry bleaches, toilet bowl cleaners and caustic drain openers can slow down the treatment process, allowing improperly treated sewage to pass through. Often, these chemicals themselves seep into the ground and may contaminate surface waters or wells.

  • Do not flush sanitary products, wipes, cigarette butts or grease. These products do not break down like toilet paper and will plug up your system.

  • Do not connect water softeners or garburators to your septic tank. Furnace condensate discharges, waste flows from home water treatment units and water softener backwash are all strains that your septic system doesn’t need. These should be routed directly to the leaching field

  • It is not advisable to plant trees or shrubs near the field because their roots travel great distances to seek water and canplug or damage the pipes. Watering grass over the field should be eliminated as the water affects the soil’s ability to absorb liquids and break down wastes.

  • Do not drive vehicles or heavy equipment over your septic system or leaching bed. The weight will crush your system and the surrounding soil may also be compacted, making it less able to absorb sewage flows. Snowmobiles compress the snow cover over your field which reduces its natural insulating effect and this can lead to frozen pipes.

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This chart shows how often your septic tank should be emptied. Click to enlarge.

How often your septic tank should be emptied

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