If you’re one of the approximately 25% of Americans who use septic systems for waste disposal, your tank is likely out of sight and out of mind. But when your home’s plumbing has issues, you need solutions fast.

There are different types of septic systems with individual care requirements. Your response depends on the kind of septic tank you have installed.

Below, we explain what you need to know about septic tank care.

Traditional Septic Systems

The most common type is the conventional septic system with a tank and drain field. In these systems, the septic tank holds back solids and allows liquid waste to flow into perforated pipes in the drain field.

Bacteria in the soil break down contaminants; solids remain in the tank and need regular septic pumping.

Inspect the tank and drain field yearly to keep a traditional system running smoothly. Pump the tank every three to five years. Frequent pumping removes solids before they overflow into the drain field.

Avoid driving or parking vehicles on the drain field. Keep tree and shrub roots away from the drain field area. Roots can block pipes and absorb moisture.

Don’t use septic additives that claim to reduce pumping needs. Remember to fix leaky plumbing right away. Too much water can overload and flood the system.

With proper care, your traditional septic system can be an eco-friendly waste disposal option for a long time. Contact a septic professional if you have any concerns.

Chamber System

Chamber systems are like conventional septic setups but use open-bottomed chambers instead of drain pipes. The chambers provide enhanced filtration and treatment of wastewater.

To maintain a chamber system, inspect the tank and chambers every year. Pump the tank every three to five years to remove solids before they clog the system. Avoid pouring chemicals or flushing non-biodegradable items that can clog the chambers.

Proper care helps prevent solids from building up. This allows your chamber system to work well for many years. Contact a septic professional for repairs or questions.

Drip Distribution

Drip distribution and mound systems need more intensive maintenance. Their benefits, especially in challenging soil conditions, make them a worthwhile investment. Aside from regular inspections, you need to know a few other things about their maintenance.


The septic tank associated with your drip distribution system may need pumping every three to five years. However, the frequency can vary based on usage and household size, so personalized advice from a septic service provider is beneficial.

Checks on Pump and Alarms

The pump and alarm system plays a vital role in the functioning of a drip distribution system. Regular checks ensure the pump distributes the effluent evenly, and the built-in alarm system alerts you to any issues.

Filter Cleaning

Filters in the treatment unit need regular cleaning to prevent solids from clogging the drip distribution network. A clogged network can compromise the system’s efficiency and lead to significant problems.

Avoid Overloading the System

Drip distribution systems can handle a specific amount of wastewater. Overloading can lead to soil saturation and system failures, so water conservation is essential.

Mound Systems

A mound system is a good choice where the soil is too thin or permeable. Mound systems aim to create raised beds over gravel and sand to compensate for poor drainage or shallow bedrock.

To care for a mound system, you must pump the septic tank every two to three years. Don’t let solid overflow. Don’t drive vehicles on the mound.

Inspect the mound often for erosion or settling issues. Maintain the grass cover on the mound without fertilizer. Roots can clog pipes.

Advanced Septic Systems

Newer advanced systems take septic technology to the next level.

Aerobic treatment units inject air to boost bacteria growth. Sand filters and at-grade systems use sand and gravel to filter waste. Mound systems elevate the drain field over poor soils.

Aerobic Treatment Units

Aerobic treatment units are waste management systems that operate on electricity. The system uses a pump to inject air into the tank, accelerating the breakdown of waste and resulting in cleaner effluent.

Inspect the system every six months. During these inspections, pay particular attention to the air filters, pumps, and alarms to ensure they function correctly.

Pump the tank every two to three years to prevent an overload of solids in the system. Avoid turning off the electric pump for over 24 hours. This interruption can kill the helpful bacteria essential for waste breakdown.

Sand Filters

Sand filters are extra tanks filled with sand or gravel, providing an extra level of filtration before the wastewater reaches the drain field. Proper care of a sand filter involves annual inspections of the septic tank and the sand filter itself.

Pump the tank every three to five years to prevent overflow. To prevent clogging, rake the top layer of sand one to two times per year. Avoid driving or parking on top of the sand filter area to prevent damage.

At-Grade Systems

At-grade systems are at or below ground level, allowing oxygen to penetrate the soil and enhance the breakdown process. The maintenance of an at-grade system includes biannual system inspections and pumping every two to three years.

To ensure its effectiveness, you should maintain proper drainage and erosion control around the system, like sand filters, and avoid driving or parking in the area.

Know When to Call a Professional

Recognizing the signs that it’s time to call a septic service professional is crucial in maintaining your system’s health. If you observe sewage surfacing in your yard, it’s an immediate red flag. Slow drains or toilets can also show a problem requiring professional attention.

Gurgling sounds emanating from your drains are another sign of issues. If you detect strong sewage odors outside, this could suggest a malfunctioning septic system. Standing water around the tank or mound is also a problem.

Call a professional to address these issues.

Maintain Different Types of Septic Systems

Don’t wait for an emergency to inspect your system. Routine septic tank maintenance can prevent disasters down the road.

We can help you take care of all types of septic systems with the timely pumping, inspection, repair, and professional installation MC Septic Services provides. It’s worth it for the peace of mind.

Contact our team in Greenville, TN, today to learn more about our professional septic maintenance.