The top 10 septic system tips:

These tips will help you to prevent expensive surprises from proposed or existing septic systems.

1) Do not connect water softener back-flush discharge to septic tanks.

2) Install and use a good effluent filter (cheap and easy way to extend the life of drainfield).

3) Diverting graywater from entering septic tanks may cause bigger problems (accelerated failure rate of drainfield).  Something to consider.

4) Shallow (<30″-deep) drainfields are usually better (and a lot less expensive) … but you need to be careful to prevent root-intrusion.

5) Septic tanks don’t need to be pumped-out as often as most people think or are told (there is an affordable way to determine exactly when this is needed) and pumping too often can definitely cause expensive problems.

6) Do not do any grading or allow any soil compaction (by driving) in any areas that MAY possibly be needed for a septic drainfield AND once a drainfield area has been designated, fence it off until all construction is complete so there is no way the soils in this area may become compromised (unknowingly) by building contractors needing somewhere to park, stage, or stockpile material.

7) Do not make common mistake of assuming that septic can be dealt latter on in the project planning.  Anyone with experience will tell you that it is one of the very first issues to address in planning and site design.

8) There is proven, advanced (alternative) technology now readily available that will often greatly reduce how much area is required for “septic” (sometimes up to 80% reduction).

9) Alternative systems can mitigate slow or fast (clay or sandy) soils, high groundwater conditions, limited space and sometimes geologic and/or biotic constraints.

10) you get what you pay for.

These tips have been provided by Andrew Brownstone of Biosphere Consulting, your local Santa Cruz  septic system design, repair and upgrades expert.

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