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Common Questions About Septic Systems

Septic tanks are an effective, long-standing method for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage from homes in rural or suburban areas. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to properly maintain this important system. The following F.A.Q.s will help answer commonly asked questions concerning septic system care and cleaning. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact a BEST plumbing and drainage contractor for a personal quote.

Q. Where can a septic system be used?
A. Septic systems are often used in rural or suburban areas that do not have direct sewer hook ups.

Q. How do I know if my site is suitable for a septic system installation?
A. The only way to be certain that your site is capable of handling a septic system is to ask a professional to conduct a comprehensive soil and site investigation. There are dozens of different soil types in the London, Ontario area, many of which are unsuitable for septic systems. For more information on septic system site surveys, please contact BEST directly.

Q. What kinds of soils are best suited to a septic system?
A. The septic system installers at BEST recommend installing a septic tank and system in gently sloping, thick, permeable soils with deep water tables. The soil should be uniform in colour, and should not have spots of grey (grey soil is an indicator of excessive moisture). The septic system installers at BEST recommend avoiding area that have rocks close to the surface, as well as sticky clays, or any soil that might restrict the downward flow of water.

Q. What happens inside a septic tank?
A. The septic tank is the receptacle for any waste waters that are produced inside the home. This includes water from the shower, bathtub, washing machine, and sinks. As the waste water flows into the tank, the heavier solid materials settle to the bottom, forming what is commonly referred to as a "sludge" layer. The lighter greases and fats float to the top, forming a "scum" layer. The liquid (sewage effluent) flows out of the tank. The septic tanks main purpose is to retain the solids while releasing sewage effluent into the drainfield.

Q. When do I need to pump my septic tank and empty it?
A. Septic tanks need to be emptied every few years, once the solids have accumulated. If this waste is not properly removed, they will eventually overflow and accumulate in the drainfield. This can cause considerable damage and often smells quite bad!

The septic system installers at BEST recommend emptying your septic tank on a 3  year cycle.

Q. Do I need to add any chemicals to my septic tank to take care of it?
A. No, your septic tank should not be treated with any chemicals. Septic tank cleaners do not reduce the need for regular pumping; in fact, some of the added ingredients can damage the drainfield or contaminate the groundwater or nearby wells.

Q. Do you have any tips for maintaining my septic system?
A. Yes! The septic system and drainage contractors at BEST recommend:

  • Keeping automotive and heavy equipment off the area of your yard that houses the system.
  • Keeping surface waters away from the tank and drainfield.
  • Having your septic system emptied every 3 years.
  • Not pouring grease or cooking oils down the drain.
  • Restricting the use of your garbage disposal.
  • Maintain adequate vegetative cover over the drainfield.
The drainage and plumbing contractors at BEST are experienced septic system installers and maintenance specialists. Contact a representative today to for more information on septic system repairs or to book your annual waste removal services. 


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At BEST Plumbing and Drainage Contractors, we feel it's important to help homeowners understand the role of the contractor and the various construction solutions available for each unique plumbing, wet basement repair and drainage issue. We are more than happy to consult with you and help navigate the process.

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