Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

Man Cleans Home Septic Tank

SepticSmart: Maintenance

If properly designed, constructed, and maintained, your septic system can provide long-term, effective wastewater treatment. Much of what you can do to keep your septic safe is making maintenance part of your routine.

Septic System Reference Guide

Pump & Inspect Regularly

Your septic system may give you signs of a problem every day. Knowing what to look for can help prevent a system from failing and save you time and money.

  • Find the records on your system installation, and know where the septic tank lids and leach field are.
  • Take note of any unusual surface moisture in the area of the leach field.
  • Be aware of sewage backing up into the house or slow-draining drains. These are indicators that something might be wrong with the leach field.
  • Prepare for the professional inspection by uncovering the tank lids, locating receipts for septic system maintenance, and having a copy of the Public Health file handy. It will take the guesswork out of the inspector’s effort and save them time and money.

Have your septic system pumped every 2-4 years or more frequently, depending on use.

We recommend an inspection once every ten years or before buying or selling a property. A well-trained inspector can tell a lot about a septic system, especially right after the tank has been pumped. Use licensed professionals for all system maintenance and repairs.

Keep Records

Keep records of each maintenance step and any repairs you make along the way. Boulder County Public Health provides records of all approved systems online for your easy reference.

Reduce Water Intake

The average indoor water use in a single-family home is almost 70 gallons per person per day. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year, and leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system.

Divert roof drains and surface water from driveways and hillsides away from the septic system. Also, keep the sump pump and house footing perimeter drains away from the system.

Reduce Toxics

Dispose of household hazardous waste properly. Use bleach and toilet bowl cleaners sparingly and in accordance with produce labeling. Do not use your septic system to dispose of non-degradable products such as diapers, tampons, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, or grease.

Do not poison your system and the groundwater by disposing of even small amounts of harmful chemicals down the drain. Such materials can kill beneficial bacteria that treat your wastewater. Do not use commercial septic system tank additives. These products do not help, and some may hurt your system in the long run.

Protect the Surface

Do not allow anyone to drive, park, or pasture livestock over any part of your system. The surface over the absorption area should be left undisturbed with only a mowed grass cover. Avoid planting trees and shrubs within ten feet of the absorption area. Also, avoid placing a sprinkler system too close to the absorption area; this area will generally not require additional watering.

See the complete list of maintenance dos and don’ts.

When making repairs, ensure that you acquire the proper permits and receive final approval once the work has been completed.

Learn More

Contact Us

SepticSmart Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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