Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

Last updated: October 24, 2017

To prolong the life of your septic system, do:

  • Use bleach, detergents and other household chemicals sparingly.
  • Conserve water by fixing leaky plumbing, washing full loads of laundry and dishes, and installing low flow plumbing fixtures.
  • Dispose of leftover food and cooking grease in garbage cans.
  • Dispose of motor oil, degreasers and other hazardous wastes at an approved collection center. For information about County hazardous waste collection, visit Anne Arundel County’s Waste Management website or call 410-222-7951.
  • Have your septic tank pumped out regularly by a licensed liquid waste hauler. Your tank will need to be pumped at least every three years, or more often depending on use.
  • Learn the location of your septic system and keep records of all maintenance. The Department of Health provides drawings of septic systems after final inspections.

You can also protect your septic system by avoiding the following activities:

  • Don’t drain pools or hot tubs into your septic system.
  • Don’t use garbage disposals.
  • Don’t plant trees close to your septic system. Roots can clog pipes and drain fields.
  • Don’t dispose of oils, paper towels, dental floss, hair trimmings, coffee grounds, kitty litter, feminine hygiene items, latex and plastic materials, cigarettes or other trash into the septic system.
  • Don’t use septic system additives. They have not been proven effective and are not recommended.

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