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How do I maintain a healthy septic system?

Make sure to avoid the major inconvenience of septic system issues

Septic tanks are used for sewage disposal and treatment in unsewered developments. Arising issues from poor septic tank system maintenance can prove not only an unwelcome financial strain, but a sizeable health risk to you and your family. 

Households with septic systems on their premises are often unfamiliar with how to properly take care of them. Read on to find out some helpful septic system tips that can save you from a potential predicament. 

Septic system maintenance tips 

The primary function of a septic tank is the separation of solids, grease and oils out of the wastewater prior to drainage receptacle entry. If properly installed and maintained, septic tank system should work effectively for years on end. 

The tips we have for ensuring a healthy septic system are: 

Regular pump-out

If your septic system isn’t pumped regularly enough, excessive amounts of sludge and scum can develop, risking your system’s operation to be compromised. Not pumping your system often enough is a well-known cause of septic tank issues. 

Don’t allow fat or grease into the septic system 

Septic systems are designed to break down waste and toilet paper; not grease and fats. If such materials accumulate in your system, the top layering of your septic system can become too thick, causing wastewater drainage difficulty.

Minimising septic water usage

A primary determinant of how well a septic system operates is the amount of water put into it on a daily basis. Considering the limited capacity of septic tanks, an undesirable quantity of water within them can interfere with its biological break-down process, which underpins the system’s entire use.

Septic System not working properly? Let our septic system experts help you.

Regularly switching drains/soakwells if your system is alternating 

For three decades, a majority of household septic systems have been installed with either two leach drains or two sets of soakwells. Known as alternating systems, they can change up the flow of wastewater, meaning one half of the leach drains or soakwells can be shut off. This increases the soil’s ability to receive effluent. Regularly switching these up can be of great assistance to the operation of the septic network.

Not driving vehicles over the system 

Septic tanks should never have vehicles driven over them. Doing so can result in significant damage to the components of the septic system, for the drainage structures, along as the soil’s ability to take on effluent, can be compromised. Problems caused by this sort of carelessness can come at a substantial cost to you. In addition to vehicles, paving for frequent foot traffic and regular animal movements close to the tank can negatively affect the system’s function. 

septic tank diagram
Septic Tank Diagram

Signs that your septic system isn’t functioning as it should be

Considering the hazardous bacteria found in them, malfunctioning septic tanks pose a significant health risk to you and your family if they’re not dealt with immediately. 

Common signs of septic tank system failure include: 

  • An awful smell coming from and around the septic tank.
  • Profusely-growing grass and/or weeds on the surrounding ground. 
  • A soggy surface area in the septic tank’s vicinity. 
  • Sewage back-up in the household pipes. Resulting issues are usually first evident in household fixtures; toilets and kitchen sinks failing to drain, for example,

These signs of a failing septic tank are most likely to occur if your septic tank hasn’t been inspected in the last year. 

Failure to pump your septic tank at a regular-enough frequency is a common cause of septic failure. As a general rule, every 2-5 years is sufficient, however, this does depend on other factors. We take a more in-depth look into septic pumping here.

Septic system issues? Here’s what to do

If you’re encountering problems with your septic system, it is not advised that you try and remedy the issues yourself.

In any of the cases mentioned above, the best option is to get in urgent contact with a trained professional. Express Wastewater are experts in the field of drainage and wastewater; get in touch today on 1300 722 517 or complete a job booking form.


How do I maintain a healthy septic system? Let our experts help you.

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Why Use Express Wastewater Solutions?


    Because we are not a manufacturer and not tied to one particular system we can always offer the best solution for your wastewater needs.


    Because we do this every day we have developed a close knit expert team for every step of the process – from plans and council paperwork to excavations, electrical and plumbing. We handle it all to make the whole process as stress free and quick as possible.


    Most people have never installed a home sewerage treatment plant and don’t know the next step, that is why we offer a free 30 minute phone consult with one of our experts to point you in the right direction.


    We handle your wastewater installation from start to finish we can deal with all the trades, council everything so you don’t have to worry about a thing.


    Have peace of mind knowing that Express are licensed, insured professionals that will do your job right the first time.


    Not sure what system is right for you, or want to know if your system is working properly? Just give one of our friendly wastewater experts a call and they will be more than happy to help.


    We will always look to repair your system rather than replace it if it does not need to be, which will generally save large amounts of money sometimes up to and over $10,000.