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Tips & FAQs about Sewage Systems, Septic Tanks, Wastewater and More

Tips for Using Your System


Tip 1: Minimize the amount of water
Make efforts to minimize the amount of water that goes into the onsite sewage system; typical water use is about 227 liters (50 gallons) per day for each person. Try not to exceed that amount. Having a water meter installed will help you monitor your water use.


Tip 2: Handling Domestic Wastewater

Systems are designed to handle domestic wastewater. Things that do not break down easily (facial tissue, large amounts of vegetable scrapings, coffee grounds, chemicals, paints, oils, sanitary napkins, applicators, condoms, medicines, pesticides, poisons, strong disinfectants, etc.) can damage a system or substantially increase the need for cleaning the septic tank. Use of in-sink garbage disposals should be limited.


Tip 3: Grease and Oil
Do not pour grease or cooking oil down the drain (including toilet). Grease and oil are hard to break down and will eventually plug the soil.


Tip 4: Keep Fixtures in Good Repair
Maintain your fixtures. A slow-running toilet can add large amounts of water. A running toilet discharging ¼ gallon per minute will result in 360 gallons per day, which is more water than a sewage system for a 3-bedroom home is designed for. To test the toilet, put a few drops of food colouring in the toilet tank. If it shows up in the bowl, it is leaking. It may take as long as an hour for the colour to show.


Tip 5: Wastewaters outside System Design
Wastewaters not included in the system’s design should not be put into the system. This may include wastewater from:

  • Foundation weeping tile drains
  • A hot tub, spa or hydro massage bath exceeding a 2-person capacity
  • A swimming pool
  • An iron filter
  • Water conditioning equipment that generates excessive amounts of wastewater

Tip 6: Downspouts and Surface Water
Direct eavestrough downspouts and other surface water should flow away from the septic tank and disposal field.


Tip 7: Automobiles and Heavy Equipment

Systems are installed near the surface – keep automobiles and heavy equipment off the system. The piping and septic tanks can be damaged by heavy traffic, and the traffic will compact the ground reducing its ability to absorb sewage effluent. In winter, traffic (even from snowmobile paths) will drive frost into the system causing it to freeze.

General FAQs

Why does the tank need to be pumped out?
As the system is used, sludge continues to form at the bottom of the tank and will eventually flow through the system and into the septic field. This prevents proper absorption which leads to sewage backup.


How often should the tank be pumped out?
As a general rule, households with 3 or more people should have their tanks cleaned annually, and those with 2 people or less should have them cleaned bi-annually. Pump screens should also be cleaned, and the control operations checked.


Septic systems usually will not fail immediately if they are not cleaned; however, an unmaintained septic tank WILL eventually lead to system failure, possible damage to the residence and personal belongings due to back-up and system replacement costs.


What time of year should I have it pumped?
The time of year is irrelevant. The time of concern is if the tank is pumped/cleaned in the middle of a cold spell and the homeowner was to go on vacation for a time. This could cause the system to sit idle and possibly freeze.


Do I need to add anything to my septic tank to help the digestion process?
Many systems do need an additive to aid in the bacteria producing process. The product that High Country Septic uses only needs to be added when the septic tank is cleaned and is added directly into the tank. This product is much cheaper than other additives found in stores (not to mention we take care of it for you!).


How long will a septic system last?
This depends on the homeowner. As long as the system is maintained (pumped out and inspected regularly) it can last 20-30 years. Other factors include soil conditions, the number of people using the system and the size of the tank and field. Remember it is always better to be proactive than reactive.


For more information on maintaining your septic tank, please feel free to get in touch with us directly.

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High Country Vac Services

Phone:  403-938-1500

Fax: 403-982-5570

Hours: 24 hours a day 7 days a week

Office
64164 - 393 Loop East Okotoks, AB T1S 0L1

Mailing Address

PO Box 1356 STN MAIN Okotoks, AB T1S 1B3

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