Household Sewage Treatment System Tips

  • New systems installed after December 10, 2004 are required to have a maintenance contract. All systems should receive regular maintenance.
  • Learn the location, type and capacity of your system. Keep a sketch of the system with detailed records of repairs, inspections, permits issued and other maintenance activities.
  • Know how your particular system operates. Recognize how it looks, sounds and smells when working correctly.
  • Keep your system accessible for inspections and pumping, yet protected from unauthorized entrance. Install risers if necessary.
  • Check to see if your system is operating after a power outage.
  • Have your septic system inspected annually.
  • Have your septic system pumped out regularly by a licensed contractor.
  • Never climb down into a septic system. The natural treatment process in septic systems produces toxic gases that can kill in minutes. Extreme care should be taken when inspecting a septic system, even when just looking inside.
  • Call a professional if you experience problems or if there are any signs of system failure.
  • Always obtain required permits before making or allowing repairs to your system.
  • Be sure your septic system can accommodate the additional waste produced by a garbage disposal before installing the device.
  • Divert sources of water, like roof drains, house footing drains and sump pumps, away from the septic system. Excessive water could saturate the soil in the drainfield leading to system failure.
  • Don’t allow anyone to drive or park over any part of the system.
  • Avoid planting anything over or near the drainfield except grass. Grass will help prevent erosion and remove excess water. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs can clog and damage drain lines.
  • Never dig in or build anything over your drainfield. This includes hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.
  • Conserve water to avoid overloading the system. Promptly repair leaky faucets or toilets.
  • Don’t allow backwash from home water softeners to enter the septic system.
  • Never use septic tank additives. These products usually do not help and can be harmful to your system.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a trash can. Coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers, kitty litter, sanitary napkins, tampons, cigarette butts, condoms, fat, grease, oil and paper towels should never be disposed of in the toilet.
  • Never pour chemicals or cleaners down the drain/toilet. Harsh chemicals can kill beneficial bacteria that treat wastewater. Paints, varnishes, thinner, waste oil, photographic solutions and pesticides are some of the items that can overtax or destroy biological digestion of wastewater in your system.



For more information, contact the Water Quality Division at 513-946-7966.


Download a printable version of this fact sheet here.


250 William Howard Taft Road
2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890