Septic Maintenance Guide for Cottagers
There are a number of steps cottage owners can take to improve the functioning of their septic system and extend its life:
- If you rent out the cottage, make sure there are clear directions of what can be flushed down the drain
- Conserve water and reduce waste flow into the system
- Install water saving features in plumbing fixtures such as shower heads, faucets
- Fix leaky faucets right away and avoid the use of garbage disposal units
- Only put biodegradable products down the drain. Disposal of non-biodegradable products such as condoms, feminine hygiene products, plastics, dental floss is not recommended.
- Anything bulkier than toilet paper does not belong in the septic tank.
- Don’t flush chemicals down the drain.
- Ensure septic tanks are inspected at least every two years
- Have the tank pumped out at least every 3 – 5 years (or sooner since frequency depends on tank/household size)
- Reduce the use of phosphate-based detergents, soaps and cleaners to minimize algae growth in nearby lakes and rivers (Phosphates can impair water quality and fish habitat)
- Avoid having cottage guests park over the septic tank or leaching bed
- Avoid extra traffic or weight over the septic system. This could potentially crush pipes or compact the soil or fill material
- Make sure an effluent filter is installed in the septic tank. This will reduce the amount of solids entering the leaching bed and prevent clogs
- Do not use snowmobiles over the leaching bed area since this reduces the natural insulation of the bed provided by the snow
- Avoid planting trees or shrubs on the leaching bed area since roots can clog the perforated pipes and shade the leaching bed area
- Minimize grass watering and water play (blow up pools, etc.) around the septic system
- Direct rainwater runoff away from the leaching bed area and septic tank access ports
Download our septic tank maintenance Booklet (PDF) for detailed information about septic systems.