Some Helpful Do’s and Don’ts Do Town of Eastham -have the system inspected and pumped every 3 to 5 Health Department years. If you have any questions - know the location of the septic system and leach field, please do not hesitate to and keep a record of all inspections, pumpings, repairs, contact the Eastham contract or engineering work for future references. Health Department. - grow grass or small plants (not trees or shrubs) above the septic system to hold the drain field in place. - take leftover hazardous chemicals to your approved Town of Eastham hazardous waste collection center for disposal. 2500 State Highway Hazardous chemicals can impact your system and groundwater. Use bleach, disinfectants, and drain/toilet Eastham, MA 02642 Pump Your Septic Phone: 508-240-5900 bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with product Fax: 508-240-5918 System Today… labels. - use only septic system additives that have been It’s in Your Best allowed for usage in Massachusetts by MassDEP. Interest… Don’t - use your toilet or sink as a trash can by dumping non- biodegradable items (cigarettes, diapers, feminine products, medical products etc.), or grease down your sink or toilet. - put paint thinner, polyurethane, antifreeze, pesticides, some dyes, disinfectants, water softeners, or other strong chemicals into the system. - use a garbage grinder or disposal, which feeds into the septic tank. If you do have one in the house, severely limit its use. - plant trees within 30 feet of system or park/drive over any part of the system. Information obtained from the Massachusetts - perform excessive laundry loads with your washing machine, doing so does not allow the system adequate Department of Environmental Protection at: time to break down waste. http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/wastewater/save/htm - use chemical solvents to clean the plumbing or septic system, as this will kill microorganisms that consume harmful wastes and eventually impact the groundwater. How Often Should You How Do You Know if Your How Does a Conventional Pump Out Your Septic System is Having System Work? System? Problems? First, wastewater (from your toilet, An amazing number of system owners Some Clues: sink, tub, etc.) flows into your septic believe that if they haven’t had any tank. Once in the tank, the heavy problems with their systems, they don’t - Muddy soil or pools of wastewater solids settle to the bottom from sheer need to pump out their septic tanks. around your septic tank or soil gravity forming a scum layer. As more Unfortunately, this is a serious and absorption system. wastewater enters the septic tank from sometimes costly misconception. As your system is used, solid materials settle to the - Sewage smells around your the house, the separated wastewater bottom of the tank, forming a sludge layer. system or inside your house. in the middle layer of the tank either Grease and lightweight materials float to the flows out or may be pumped into the surface of the septic tank as scum. - Backups when you do laundry, leach field (see diagram below). take showers, or flush the toilet. Microorganisms living within the drain Depending on the number of users, properly field consume leftover particles, designed tanks have enough space for up to harmful germs and viruses. 3 to 5 years safe accumulation of sludge. Save Money by When the sludge level increases beyond this Maintaining Your Septic The sludge and scum layers remain in point, sewage has less time to settle System the tank where naturally occurring properly before leaving the tank. As the bacteria work to break them down. sludge level increases, more solid wastes A major reason to maintain your septic escape into the soil absorption system Since the bacteria cannot completely system is to save money. Failing (SAS), also referred to as leachfield. If the decompose all of these solids, the SAS becomes so clogged that it cannot systems are expensive to repair or layers continue to grow, slowly filling absorb liquid at the rate at which it enters up the tank. These solids will replace, and poor maintenance is often the tank, the plumbing will “back up” or eventually have to be pumped out. unsanitary wastewater will bubble to the the culprit. Preventative maintenance surface. is cheaper than repair or replacement. For example, it could cost up to Remember: Regular pumping helps prevent solids from escaping into the leachfield and $40,000 or more to replace a failing clogging soil pores. While pumping system with a new one, compared to a frequency is a function of use, MassDEP range of approximately $200 to $300 recommends that systems be pumped at least once every three years for homes not to have it pumped. Factors such as having a garbage disposal. If the home’s digging up covers, work required to system has a garbage disposal, the septic locate tank and degree of difficulty system should be pumped every year. If it has alternative technology, the getting to the tank may affect the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific overall price. Maintaining a septic system should be followed. system is like maintaining a car. A Only pumpers licensed by the local Board of small effort on a regular basis can save Health should be utilized. a lot of money and significantly prolong the life of the system.