ECHO Associates, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I pump my septic system?
By pumping the solids from your tank regularly you will increase the life of your leach field. We recommend pumping a system every 1 to 3 years depending on the household size and usage to ensure a long and trouble free life of the system. Preventative maintenance on a regular basis is less expensive than a repair or a replacement of the system.

If I pump my septic system, won't I get rid of the necessary bacteria?
Biological activity in the tank is not upset by pumping; incoming septage contains all the necessary bacteria to breakdown biodegradable solids.

What can I flush?
Use toilet paper, soaps and cleaning products that contain no phosphorus. Look for products that are labeled "septic system safe" or "biodegradable".

What shouldn't be flushed into a septic system?
Never flush any plastics or personal hygiene products, including baby wipes. Prevent any cooking grease, fat or oil from entering your septic system as well as toxic chemicals such as fuel, paint thinners and pesticides. Toxic chemicals kill the much-needed bacteria in the system and prevent the breakdown of solids.

Should I use additives?
Most systems do not require additives; your septic system contains all the necessary bacteria to breakdown most solids. Pump your system on a regular basis instead.

What about my garbage disposal? I've heard that they harm septic systems.
Garbage disposals add large amounts of solids to the septic system which the bacteria are incapable of breaking down. Also, the garbage disposal tends to grind the food particles small enough to pass through the septic tank into the leach field, which can cause permanent damage. If you do use a garbage disposal, you should pump your system at least once a year and expect a shorter lifespan for your system.

What can I plant near and around my septic system?
Grass cover is best over the system. Around the drainfield, there should be no woody plants or plants with invasive roots, which can damage or clog the leach field.

Is there anything else I can do to prolong the life of my septic system?
You can have an effluent filter and access risers installed to help the solids settle and break down in the tank. Both risers and effluent filters should be included in every new tank installation and can be retrofitted within most existing tanks. Also, do not drive heavy cars or trucks of any weight over your septic system, this can cause damage.

Excavation services, residential and commercial site work, septic system installations, landscape design, septic tank pumping,
cesspool pumping, effluent filters, access risers and covers, RI Certified Septic System Inspector.

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ECHO Associates, Inc. (401) 568-8074 ECHO Septic Services, LLC (401) 568-0200
PO Box 129 Chepachet, RI 02814