Per EPA rules, homeowners are fully responsible for the proper operation and maintenance of their septic infrastructure - if they have one, of course. So, it is important to become familiar with your system, understand how it works, and learn how to prevent costly problems.
If you don't know anything about your septic system and cannot even find its location within your property, your first preventive step should be contacting your local sanitation department so they can refer you to a competent inspector. The inspector will help you locate it and then identify any issues that should be addressed immediately.
Septic tanks, which are the heart of the system, should be inspected every year. Such minor expense (approximately $100 to $200) can save you thousands of dollars in headaches. Further, depending on the size of your septic tank, and family members living in your household, it should be pumped out anywhere from every one to five years to prevent system failure. Neglecting to do this can have serious consequences for your bank account and your community, such as:
- Repair costs of close to $10K or more
- Denial of construction permits by your county
- Localized environmental damage
- Loss of property values
- Scorn of the community
Almost every aspect of your system's preventive maintenance and regular clean up boils down to just saving money. Let's illustrate the point with various septic tank sizes and average maintenance and installation cost data.
Small $195 3 years $1,950 $700
Small to Medium $263 3.5 years $2,254 $2,723
Medium $372 4 years $2,790 $4,895
Medium to Large $481 4.5 years $3,207 $7,485
Large $893 5 years $5,358 $12,000
As you can see, savings can quickly add up over a 30-year span by spending just a fractional amount on maintenance on a regular basis. The sticker shock of having to install a new septic system should be painful enough to discourage any homeowner from leaving his or her system's maintenance to divine intervention. When the cost of environmental contamination and loss of property value is factored in, the price of neglect is even steeper. Therefore, every responsible homeowner should adopt a regular inspection and maintenance schedule for their septic systems, the benefits are beyond obvious.
This kind of dirty job is clearly best left to professionals and companies that specialize in system clean up and disposal. Poop is indeed a lucrative business, but it is not recommended for everyone. Instead, hire an expert (such as one from Southwest Environmental)! Save yourself the stink and the trouble.