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Frequently Asked Questions for Residential Septic Services

How often should I pump my septic tank?

Virginia Department of Health recommends that the septic tank be pumped every three to five years. A septic tank frequency chart provided by Oregon State University Extension Service provides information on how often you should have your septic tank pumped by comparing the number of occupants in the house and the size of the septic tank. For example, a family of four with a 1,000 gallon septic tank should have the tank pumped every 2.6 years. A family of two with a 1,000 gallons septic tank should have the tank pumped every 5.9 years. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Septic tank frequency chart provided by Oregon State University Extension Service

Should I use a septic tank treatment?

Septic tank additives are not necessary for everyone but are needed for larger families and when a lot of antibacterial products (cleaning products, antibacterial soaps, and laundry products containing bleach) are used in the home. If a family member is on antibiotics, the antibiotics will kill the bacteria in the septic tank. Therefore, an additive is needed.

Where do we dispose of wastes after we pump out a septic tank?

We take the waste to a state permitted wastewater treatment plant where it is processed and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. We never dump in lagoons or land apply septic tank waste.

How long will my septic system last?

The average lifespan of a septic system is 30-40 years if it is properly maintained.

What do I need to do to maintain my conventional septic system?

For conventional septic systems, have your service provider establish a pumping schedule based on your household. Follow the rules of the Do’s and Don’ts provided on this site in the Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems.

What do I need to do to maintain my alternative septic system?

For an alternative septic system, have your service provider do an annual inspection that will be custom designed for your specific treatment system.

Can I build a driveway or a room addition over my septic tank or drainfield?

NO! No structures can be built over any component of the septic system. The drainfield area must be kept free of trees and shrubs. Roots are a major cause of clogged drainfield lines. Nothing heavier than a riding lawn mower should be driven over the drainfield area in order to avoid soil compaction.

Should I worry about my well water being contaminated by the septic system?

If your drainfield is operating properly, it does a good job of killing pathogens in the wastewater. This is one of the things that your service provider will check for when servicing your system.

Can my neighbor’s septic system contaminate my well water?

Any septic system that is not maintained and operating properly will contaminate ground water in the surrounding area.

Why does my drainfield get soggy and wet after I do several loads of laundry in one day?

The drainfield may already be wet or saturated due to rainy weather or plumbing leaks (example: leaky toilets) and a high use activity like laundry may cause an already overloaded drainfield to back up or even erupt.

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