Alternative septic tank systems are installed in sites/homes that have special underground constitutions that make a conventional septic tank and leach field unfeasible. These include homes that have high water tables, thin soils with bedrock too close to the surface or homes located on a steep slope.
The exact system you choose depends on a number of factors, including the amount of space you have, affordability and effect on your landscaping among others. Once you have installed your alternative septic tank system, proper maintenance techniques protects your water catchment areas and ensures that your system gives you the best service. Below are important maintenance practices for every homeowner:
- DON'T dispose of unused medication and other hazardous waste by flushing it in your sink or toilet. These may not be completely removed from water by your treatment/filtration system, resulting in contamination of ground water. In addition, some drugs like antibiotics could kill off the good bacteria that biodegrades your waste.
- DON'T let trees grow within a hundred-foot radius of your treatment system. This also applies to other plants with extensive rooting systems, as they may damage your septic tank, causing overflows, leaks and ruptures that are expensive to fix.
- DON'T use harsh/abrasive cleaning chemicals like bleach except when absolutely unavoidable. These chemicals not only damage the drainage and filtration system; they kill the good bacteria that decompose solid waste in the system.
- DON'T place heavy weights over the septic tank system location. The weight of heavy livestock herds or driving over them can cause rupture and other forms of damage to the equipment.
- DO treat your septic tank system regularly – once or twice a year is good. This includes adding specific colonies of bacteria and microorganisms that stimulate degradation of sludge and solid organic waste.
- DO ensure that your drainage field's landscaping is done well to avoid oversaturation by rain water, which could result in septic system malfunction. Having rainwater catchment points and proper sloping of your land will prevent this.
- DO plan for regular inspection of your septic tank. Inspection should be done at the same time annually and should ensure the appropriate level of solid waste and sludge is maintained and filters are working properly.
- DO pump out your system every 3-5 years depending on the usage.
- DO conserve water inside the house so that you don't overload your system. Install the appropriate alternative septic tank size considering any future increase in wastewater volumes. Limit the amount of water passing into your septic system by fixing leaks in the home.
- DO use a garbage disposal system that cuts up solid waste to very small pieces, not large chunks. This will ensure faster decomposition, since garbage disposal systems reduce the volume of solids to be processed by the system.
For more information and maintenance tips, talk with a company that specialises in alternative septic tank systems, such as Biosystems 2000.