Getting to know your Septic Tank  

Getting to know your Septic Tank  

Not everyone grows up in an urban environment, where flushing a toilet and not considering the consequences are common place. In our rural communities, septic systems are the only choice when municipal services are not available.


So what is a septic system? 

The long and the short of it is it’s a home wastewater treatment system, located on your own property and consisting basically of a buried cylindrical or rectangular watertight tank. Anything that uses water in your home from flushing a toilet to kitchen drains to laundry all make their way into the septic tank.


The purpose of a septic tank? 

A septic tank’s job is to treat this “wastewater”- it does so by holding this wastewater long enough so that any solids sink to the bottom and bacterial action produces what is referred to as “sludge”. Lighter solids such as oils and fats float to the top and are referred to as “scum”. The septic tank is designed to prevent these from leaving the tank and travelling into the surrounding area or “drain field”. A drain field is a shallow, covered area surrounding the tank and consisting of non-absorbing soil. This is where liquid from the septic tank slowly flows through a series of  pipes into your yard for its final treatment by organisms in the soil that naturally filter bacteria and viruses ultimately turning the wastewater to groundwater.

Modern systems, with regular maintenance, including pumping the tank completed by a qualified septic pumping company every couple of years, a septic system on average will last 35-50 years or more.


How often should you empty a Septic Tank 

A septic tank should be pumped every 3-5 years depending on how many people are living in the home.  A family of 4 or 5 people, every 3 years and a family of 2, every 5 years.

Maintenance of a Septic Tank

A septic tank is nothing to fear. Keep a record of where on the property the tank is located for future reference. Use common sense when disposing of liquids. Try to conserve water with the use of low-flow toilets and running a dishwasher or washing machine only when they are full.  Remember with septics, other than toilet paper, don’t put anything in the septic system unless you eat it first!   It really is just common sense!


Have questions about Septic systems and rural properties, chat with a member of our real estate team.  905.985.7300

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