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 Septic Tank Maintenance and Operation

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• Eliminate Odours and "Off" Smells
• Reduce The Frequency of Pump-Outs
• Extend The Life of Your Soakaway
• Maintain Out-Flows To Your Drainfield - Less Backing Up
• Degrade Waste Faster
•Restore And Maintain Natural Bacterial Action In Your Septic Tank

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Septic Tank Owner's Advice

What is a Septic System                    *Environment Agency Registration Information*

Pumping Frequency Guide

Thousands of households throughout the UK rely on their own mini-sewage treatment plant - their septic tank system. This on-site treatment system when properly designed, installed, operated and maintained, will treat sewage to protect the family, community and water supply from diseases and contamination for many years.

Septic Tank Cut Away

In an ideal world a septic tank will operate successfully with only occasional interruption for pumping. see here for estimate of frequency However, bleaches, washing powders, some medicines, cold weather and high water flows are some of the reasons that tanks start to fail. Odours and "off" smells, blockages and ponding in the drain field occur and can be serious problems at worst or unhealthy nuisances at least.

Help is on hand in the form of OE42 pre-packed synergistic bacteria. This product will cure or help alleviate most septic tank problems by restoring the natural balance found in healthy tanks.

It is safe to use and contains naturally occurring bacteria, ready to quickly get to work on the fats, paper, food waste and other contents of the tank. Unlike other products which claim to improve your septic tank performance, OE42 does not contain harmful chemicals which can attack sewers; Nor does it contain harmful solvents which can easily make matters worse.

 Septic Tank Maintenance With OE42

Is Your Septic System Functioning Effectively? 

The best advice for prolonging the life of your home septic system is to conserve water. The more water you put through your septic tank, the more water it must treat and the quicker it is going to stop working. Organize laundry, dish washing, and bathing to use your water wisely and efficiently. 

Don't pour grease, coffee grounds and similar materials down your kitchen drain. Never Ever pour paints, cleaners, solvents or any caustics down any drain. Some people toss cigarette ends, sanitary products, wads of hair and paper and other solid materials into the toilet - this is a serious mistake! Don't use your toilet and septic system as a dust bin... You will be adding to the sludge build up and overloading the bacteria in the septic tank! 

If you have a kitchen sink waste disposal, you should inspect your septic tank and pump out the solids about twice as often as you normally would. Therefore, try to limit the amount of food waste you put through the disposal. Even without a sink waste disposal, have your septic system inspected occasionally and the solids pumped out. 

There are beneficial bacterial products such as OE42, which homeowners (as well as businesses) use to restore and optimize the natural biology of their wastewater system. 
OE42 does not emulsify or liquefy oil, grease and organics, but eliminates them through natural biological digestion. 

Many discharge problems can be completely eliminated by constructing a reed bed to treat the water from the septic tank. Odour-free and in keeping with the environment, these are often the ideal way to clean up wastewater.

In review, you can prolong the life of your home septic system by: 

(1) Conserving water 

(2) Reducing the amount of bleach poured down the toilet. If possible, switch to an oxygen based bleach.

(3) Avoiding the installation of a waste disposal system

(4) Having your septic tank inspected every few years

(5) Using OE42 to maintain and optimize natural biological activity

(6) Not pouring grease, coffee grounds, medicines, solvents and other chemicals down your household drain

What Is Septic System?

A conventional septic system consists of three main parts: A septic tank, a drainfield, and the soil beneath the drainfield.

The Septic Tank
bulletA temporary, watertight holding tank for waste, often buried near the house. Tanks usually have a capacity of 1,000 or more gallons.
bulletFats Oils and Grease (FOG) form a scum on the top of the water.
bulletSolids settle to the bottom of the tank and form a layer of sludge.
bulletLiquid waste exits near the top of the tank and flows through distribution pipes in the drainfield.

The Drainfield
bulletMultiple, gravel-lined trenches, usually 2-3 feet deep, positioned so that gravity allows liquid waste to flow into the area.
bulletPerforated distribution pipes are placed in the trenches, ensuring that liquid waste can drain over a large area. The bottom of the trenches are at least 12 inches above the groundwater table, sometimes more depending on the type of soil.
bulletThe drainfield is covered with soil before the system is used.

The Soil

Components in the soil neutralize bacteria and chemicals before they reach groundwater or nearby rivers and lakes. The ideal soil is aerobic, meaning it contains a good amount of oxygen, and is not saturated with water.

Septic System Variations
Other types of systems are usually more expensive, but allow you to build on a piece of land that might not be suitable for a conventional septic system. For instance, waste might need to be pumped to the drainfield, rather than using a gravitational drain.

Land Buying Tips
Always make your purchase of an undeveloped piece of land without sewer connections contingent on obtaining a permit to install a septic system. There are some soils that are not suitable for any type of system.

Ask your estate agent who regulates systems in the area where you plan to build. If you are purchasing a house already on a septic system, ask for a copy of the original septic permit, since it should show you the location of the tank and drainfield.


Estimated Septic Tank Pumping Frequencies (Years)
Tank size Household Size (number of people)
500 5.8 2.6 1.3 1.0 0.7 0.4
750 9.1 4.2 2.6 1.8 1.3 1.0
900 11.0 5.2 3.3 2.3 1.7 1.3
1000 12.4 5.9 3.7 2.6 2.0 1.3
1250 15.6 7.5 4.8 3.4 2.6 2.0
1500 18.9 9.1 5.9 4.2 3.3 2.6
1750 22.1 10.7 6.9 5.0 3.9 3.1
2000 25.4 12.4 8.0 5.9 4.5 3.7
2250 28.6 14.0 9.1 6.7 5.2 4.2
2500 31.9 15.6 10.2 7.5 5.9 4.8