Protect your home’s value, your family’s health and our freshwater resources by caring for your septic system.
Your septic system is an important part of your home. It treats the water you use everyday. A failed septic system is very expensive to fix and can be a significant source of bacterial contamination in ground and surface water. Periodic inspections and routine maintenance will prevent a properly constructed system from failing.Get our septic system tip sheet
Learn how . . .
Inspect it and pump it out.
Septic systems should be inspected every 2 to 3 years by a qualified professional.
Have your tank pumped out every 3-5 years (or as recommended) by a reputable septic tank service contractor who is required to have a state permit to handle and dispose of the materials.
Find service contractors in the Michigan Septage Haulers Directory, a database of waste businesses, vehicles and land application sites that are currently licensed by the Michigan’s septage waste program.
To keep your septic system functioning properly, avoid flooding the drainfield with excess water. Conserve water inside your home with efficient fixtures and spread out water-intensive activities like showers, dishwashing and laundry. Using water efficiently also saves energy and money.
Avoid harsh chemicals.
Drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and “miracle system cleaners” will kill the bacteria that are necessary to break down sludge in your septic system. Check product labels to see if they are safe for use in septic systems. Check out alternatives to toxic cleaners.
Use a trash can.
Septic systems are designed for the limited disposal of human and pet waste, toilet paper, and soapy waste water from bathing, laundry and dishwashing. Flushing other items down your toilet or sink can cause your septic system to clog and fail since it can’t break down the material. Dispose of solids such as “disposable” wipes, cigarette butts, diapers, coffee grounds, tampons, condoms and fats, oil and grease from cooking in your household trash.
Tame the toxins.
Toxic household cleaners and chemicals, used motor oil, pain and other hazardous substances should never be poured down a sink or flushed down the toilet, dumped into a storm drain or on the ground. To keep them out of your septic system always dispose of home toxics and household hazardous waste at a county collection site or take-back program.
Avoid field compaction.
Be sure you know the location of your septic tank and drainfield. Never park, drive or build on your tank or drainfield. Soil compaction and paving breaks pipes and prevents oxygen from getting into the soil (beneficial microorganisms in the system need oxygen to break down and treat sewage).