When you think about your septic system, which likely isn’t very often, water safety may not be the first thing that comes to mind. You worry about making sure your system is working well enough to keep messy and disruptive backups at bay, whether you remembered to make appointments for routine inspections, and if the tank needs pumping.
However, your septic system isn’t just a self-contained waste processing center for your property, and when it’s installed poorly or malfunctioning, it can have a direct impact on water safety. This is especially true if you are one of the tens of millions of households in the United States that rely on a private well for a water supply.
How Your Septic System Could Impact Your Water Safety
When your septic system is installed properly, working as intended, and maintained regularly, it is a vital part of an entire system for producing, using, and disposing of water. Your septic tank and well work as part of the same system, but only if they work properly.
A damaged or malfunctioning septic can wreak havoc with all parts of the system, the most concerning of which is your well. If effluent is not filtered and decontaminated as it passes through the drain field, it will seep into the same groundwater that fills your well.
While absolutely no one wants to subject themselves or their family members to contaminated water, and anyone can be made ill after drinking it, the stakes are particularly high for those who are pregnant, elderly, or very young children.
To consider the potentially dire implications, think about every drain in your home and what goes through it daily. Not just waste from toilets but gray water from every sink, bathtub, dishwasher, and washing machine. Everything that you want to stay out of sight and very far out of mind is sitting in a septic tank, hopefully being processed beautifully by a perfectly functioning system. If not, however, it could spell disaster for groundwater that fills the aquifer your well draws from.
What You Can Do to Support and Protect Drinking Water Safety
As a busy homeowner, you have a million things on your to-do list. But, unfortunately, it’s easy to forget about your septic system when it’s working, and it’s also easy to miss signs that some things aren’t working perfectly if you don’t have sewage backing up through the drains inside your house. After all, the entire system is underground; it’s not like you can peek in on it every few days!
There are ways you can keep an eye on the situation, though, if not the equipment itself.
- Well Testing – The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers testing of private wells to be a routine maintenance chore and recommends doing so regularly. If your water tests show no signs of contamination, you can rest assured that your septic system isn’t affecting it between inspections and pumping.
- Septic Tank Inspections – Your septic system needs a once-over from an experienced septic system professional to ensure everything is in good shape, that the tank doesn’t need pumping, and that no problems are visible.
Even if your well water testing shows no contamination, skipping routine inspections is a poor choice for saving. The closest you’ll get to an actual snapshot of your underground waste management system is the findings of a septic expert after a routine inspection.
- Be Mindful of Your Habits – You know to be careful what you pour down the drain or flush down the toilet. But did you know it’s equally important to keep heavy machinery, cars or anything else weighty and disruptive far from your drain field? Parking cars, driving heavy trucks, or even planting the wrong type of tree on top of your drain field can lead to major problems.
Don’t leave water safety that your family drinks, bathes in, and washes their clothes with up to chance. Invest in annual well testing, adopt good stewardship habits required to keep a septic system up and running, and keep those inspections coming as recommended. Not sure when your system was last inspected? Sunset Septic can help. Call or contact Sunset Septic today to learn more about protecting the safety of your water and the integrity of your septic system.