All standard septic tanks should be inspected every 2 - 5 years. Regular inspection, maintenance, and pumping of a septic tank will increase its lifespan and catch potentially costly problems before they arise.
Septic tank additives claiming to eliminate the need for pumping can compromise the functioning of septic systems.
Septic tanks contain all of the microbes needed to break down waste; the small amounts of bacteria and enzymes found in a single dose of septic tank additives have not been shown to significantly increase the efficiency of septic systems.
Disposing of harsh or toxic chemicals, or the use of antibacterial products, can kill the beneficial microbes in septic systems that degrade harmful substances in wastewater. Examples of chemicals which may harm a septic system include bleach, drain cleaners, disinfectants, paint thinners, pharmaceuticals, antibacterial soaps, and pesticides. These chemicals should be disposed of at transfer stations and, when they will be drained into a septic tank, used minimally.
Leaky faucets and other excessive household inputs will increase the frequency with which pumping is required. Draining large volumes of water into a septic tank (such as from a pool or hot tub) can stir up the sludge collected at the bottom of the tank, allowing it to escape potentially clog the drainfield.
Dental floss, diapers, feminine hygiene products, condoms and other non-biodegradable items should never be disposed of into a septic system as they may cause clog damage.
Groundwater runoff from driveways and patios as well as roof and drains and basement sumps should be diverted away from the septic tank's drainfield as flooding the drainfield slows down the treatment process.
Only grass should be planted over and near a septic system. Roots from larger plants may damage the septic tank or drainfield.
The area over a septic tank and its drainfield should not be paved or driven over. These activities can compact the soil causing slow drainage and reduced efficiency of the cleansing process. They may also cause damage to underlying pipes and other equipment.