- Don't route surface water drainage toward your absorption field. Snowmelt, rain, and other surface runoff can temporarily inundate your field.
- Install a lint trap on your washing machine. Lint will clog the pipes in the absorption field.
- Look for areas in your lawn that remain moist during dry times. Check for excessive grass or plant growth. If you live near a creek, river or lake, check for excessive plant and algae growth along the shoreline. If you see signs of failure, schedule an inspection and necessary repairs immediately.
- Don't plant anything over the disposal field except grass, and be especially careful not to cover the tank or field with asphalt, concrete or other impermeable material.
- Make sure your septic is located an appropriate distance from your well.
- Don't hire just anyone to service your septic system. Incomplete treatment of wastewater can result in the spread of hepatitis, dysentery, and other diseases caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the wastewater.
- Use low flush toilets and showerheads to conserve water.
- Don't ever attempt to open a septic tank yourself. Gases and bacteria in it are dangerous.
- Keep trees and shrubs at least 35 feet away from your field to prevent roots from plugging or breaking pipes.
- Read product labels! Use low phosphorus detergents and cleaning products whenever possible. Phosphorus is the nutrient most likely to cause damage to a lake after leaving your septic system.
- Use toilet paper that decomposes easily. Purchase brands labeled "safe" for septic systems.
- Insert a water displacement bag inside the toilet tank of older, less efficient toilets to reduce the amount of water used per flush.
Water Conservation Tips
- Collect the water you use for rinsing produce and reuse it to water houseplants.
- Don't use running water to thaw food.
- Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
- Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
- Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
- When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks, so that every drop goes down you not the drain.
- Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
- Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
- Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
- Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. This saves 150 gallons or more each time, and if you clean your property once a week, that's more than 600 gallons a month.
- Don't water the lawn on windy days. There's too much evaporation. Can waste up to 300 gallons in one watering.
- In the fall, add four to six inches of mulch to your plant beds. This will protect the roots from freezing during the winter and prevent water evaporation. Such preparation will reduce the need to water as often in the coming spring and summer.