Septic Smarts

Maintain & Sustain

Septic Tank SystemAccording to SCDHEC, South Carolina households generate nearly 3 billion gallons of sewage each year. About 60 percent of homes are served by public or community sewer systems. The rest — more than 1 million households — rely on septic tanks located on their property. In an average year, 10 to 30 percent of septic systems fail to work properly, usually because of poor maintenance.

Whenever possible, connect with public or community sewer. If sewer isn’t available in your area, be sure to maintain and sustain your septic system. To learn more, check out “How a Septic Tank System Works” from SCDHEC.

Where most septic tanks fail and become a major source of pollution, like with fecal bacteria and phosphorus, is when they are not regularly inspected by professionals and repaired if needed. Out of sight, out of mind can hurt you in the long run!


Get your septic system inspected annually.

Pump out your septic system regularly. Pumping out every three to five years is recommended for a three-bedroom house with a 1,000-gallon tank; smaller tanks should be pumped more often.

EPA Homeowners Guide to Septic Tanks

Do not use septic system additives. There is no scientific evidence that biological and chemical additives aid or accelerate decomposition in septic tanks; some additives may in fact be detrimental to the septic system or contaminate ground water.

Check out this Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).