Answers to Some Commonly Asked Questions About Onsite Wastewater Systems

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An onsite wastewater system, commonly called a septic system or septic tank, is often used in rural areas without a connection to a city's wastewater system. They might also be used for vacation properties where a person may visit with a motor home and not need standard water and sewage lines. If you're considering buying a property that has a septic system or buying such a system for a property you own, you might note some commonly asked questions first. This will ensure you know everything involved with this type of onsite wastewater system and know what to discuss with a contractor before installing or using that system.

1. Why can't you put anything you want down the drain or in the toilet with a septic system?

A septic system involves a tank into which all the drains and toilets of the home empty. This tank is then cleaned out regularly by a contractor. Because the tanks are emptied and cleaned, you may assume you can put anything into the drains or flush things down the toilet and everything will simply be sucked out of the tank when you have it serviced. 

However, remember that your home's drains and toilets can easily get clogged with a septic tank, just as they would with any type of sewage system. Putting disposable diapers in the toilet can mean clogging the toilet, no matter the wastewater system on your property. Things like cooking oil and grease can also coat the pipes from the drain to the tank so that they more readily get clogged. If you're considering a septic tank, be sure you understand what you shouldn't put in the drains or flush down the toilet so you can keep everything in good working order.

2. Can you simply hook up to an older septic system on your property?

One thing to remember is that you need to check your local regulations about using an older system on your property. Many areas allow you to do this if you don't make changes to the system, whereas in other areas you may need to have it inspected before it can be used. It's also good to note that you as the property owner are typically responsible for any leaks, runoff, or other such issues with a wastewater system. It can be good to have an older system thoroughly inspected before you use it so you know it's in good working order and can avoid any cleanup costs or liability.

For more information, contact companies like Econocycle.