Groundwater contamination can occur from septic systems that are improperly maintained or damaged. In order to prevent your precious drinking water from becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria, you should first understand how your septic system and water supply interact with one another.
How do your septic system and groundwater supply interact?
Most homes that are connected to a septic system rather than city sewer also rely on well water from a source on or near your property. Water from underground aquifers is pumped into your house, and your septic system processes water that has been used in toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and appliances. Your drains collect the used water where it flows through your septic lines into your septic tank.
How should your septic system process wastewater?
The material in your septic tank separates into layers of sludge, scum, and effluent. Naturally occurring bacteria from waste material in your tank works to break down septic contents. As content levels rise over time, effluent that reaches the drain line flows out to the leach field (also known as a drain field) where the bacteria and soil further filter the liquid before it leeches into the ground and back into your aquafer.
How can you prevent groundwater contamination?
In order to ensure the safety of not only your groundwater but also nearby above-ground sources of water, you will need to monitor your septic system closely for signs of damage or neglect.
1. Only trust a septic tank specialist with septic tank installation
Septic tanks are tasked with storing wastewater safely for long periods of time. Homeowners and renters expect their sewer system to work reliably, while performing their duty out of sight and out of mind. The last thing you want is to deal with a problem with dangerous bacteria from backflow or contaminated drinking water due to an improperly installed septic tank system. Your septic system is only as good as the septic service team that installs it.
2. Schedule regular septic tank pumping service
Septic systems typically require pumping once every 3-5 years depending on the tank capacity and amount of household use of the system. Failing to pump out a full tank can result in backflow into your home or dangerous runoff from your tank or drain field that can travel downhill to water sources.
3. Avoid damaging your septic system
Preventable septic tank issues like avoiding foreign and hard materials from entering your drains from inside your home and protecting the structure above your septic tank and drain field can help you avoid a groundwater contamination disaster.
4. Schedule routine inspection of your septic system
For all other unexpected issues caused by tree roots, rocks, and other debris that can find their way from the outside into your plumbing, regularly having your septic system inspected can make sure your septic tank continues to operate as expected and prevent future problems from developing.
While septic tanks are mostly self-sufficient, neglect and damage to your septic system can result in disastrous contamination to groundwater if not properly serviced. Regularly scheduling pumping and maintenance will ensure that your septic tank is performing optimally for years to come.
A-1 Septic Tank Service, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business that has been committed to providing the greater San Francisco Bay Area with fast and dependable septic and non-hazardous pumping services for over 65 years.
If you require septic maintenance services, visit our website to request service online today. For a septic emergency, call our emergency line at (510) 886-4455.