Purdue Residential Onsite Wastewater Disposal:  Septic system information to protect your family and the environment

Maintaining Your System

There are several things you must do to maintain your septic system: 
  • Have a professional pump out your septic tank every three to five years.

  • Get a professional!

  • Take notice when the system begins to back up. Possible causes of septic system failure include:
    • Tank needs pumped
    • Tree roots have grown into trenches
    • Pipe has burst
    • Trenches are too wet due to large amounts of rainfall

    Take notice when the system backs up!

  • Reduce the amount of water used. This can be done in many ways such as using low-flow devices, detecting and repairing leaky faucets and toilets, washing larger loads of laundry instead of many small loads, and eliminating other wasteful water use habits.

  • Do larger loads of laundry

If you do not maintain your septic system, it is likely to fail. A failed septic system can pollute drinking water, both yours and the entire community. Once the drinking water supply is polluted, it is very hard to clean up.

Educational Tutorials

To learn more about reducing the amount of wastewater flowing through your disposal system, see:

Purdue Extension Publications

The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service has published several booklets on proper design and construction of the home septic field. This publication is available from the Farm Building Plan Service and is also available in html format: