What you need to know about septic tank draining

If you own a residence that isn’t connected to the municipal sewer system, you must have a septic tank to treat your wastewater. Your septic tank serves to collect and treat all of the residual waste coming from your toilets, showers, sinks and tubs. It does this with the aid of bacteria, which naturally break down the waste products.

To prevent any risks of your septic tank overflowing or malfunctioning and consequently polluting the environment, the Regulation Respecting Waste Water Disposal Systems for Isolated Dwellings (Q-2, r.22) issued by the Ministry of Environment and Fight Against Climate Change (MELCC) requires septic tanks to be drained every two years in the case of primary residences and every four years in the case of second homes.

How to prepare for having your septic tank drained

Is it time to have your septic tank drained? Here are some tips to help you prepare for it.

  • Before you do anything else, check with your city to find out if they offer a septic tank draining program. If they do, they’ll schedule the draining services for you; however, you must follow their guidelines. If your city doesn’t offer this type of program, you’ll need to contact a qualified sanitary service company to purge your septic tank. With the aid of a specialized vacuum truck, the professional will remove the solid waste and sludge, followed by the water. The water will then be filtered and returned to the tank. The technician will also inspect the condition of the tank.
  • Make sure you leave the covers to your septic tank accessible. Don’t cover them up.
  • Leave visible markers (flags, a tag indicating the entrance, etc.) to make it easier to locate your tank.
  • To facilitate the technicians’ access to your septic tank, make sure to clear the surrounding area.
  • Consult the manufacturer or supplier of your tank to learn the specifications for your system and the procedures that need to be followed. For example, in the case of a Bionest system, the maintenance engineer must shut off the pump before proceeding to drain the tank.
  • Even though your septic tank can be drained any time of year, it’s best to have this type of maintenance work done during the summer months.

Tips to help you extend the life of your septic tank

  • Use products that are biodegradable or that are specifically designed for use with septic tanks.
  • As much as possible, avoid pouring grease and cooking oil down your drains.
  • Avoid using a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink.
  • Try to stagger your water use to space out the amount of wastewater that’s sent to the tank at any given time.
  • Don’t use household chemicals like bleach to clean your toilets, bathroom or kitchen.
  • Reduce your water consumption.
  • Never flush items like feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, Q-tips, hair, wet wipes, diapers or medication down your toilets.
  • Never pour paint, coffee grounds, cat litter, cigarette butts or pesticides or similar substances down your drains.
  • Check the sludge level in your septic tank regularly.
  • Have a pre-filter installed and clean it every six months to prevent any possible clogs.

When it’s time to have your septic tank drained, contact the team of qualified professionals at Sanibert.