Septic Owners

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Frequently Asked Questions

Septic Maintenance

Maintaining Septic Systems

A typical septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a licensed contractor and your tank pumped as recommended by the inspector (generally every three to five years).

More on septic maintenance here

Do Not Flush

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Non-flushable wipes
  • Condoms
  • Diapers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter

A variety of household products can clog and potentially damage septic system components, find a complete list here

Improper Disposal
Septic Tanks

Signs of Septic Malfunction

If you discover any of these warning signs, call a licensed septic tank contractor immediately. One call could save you thousands of dollars.

  • Wastewater backing up into household drains.
  • A strong odor around the septic tank and drainfield.
  • Bright green, spongy grass appearing on the drainfield, even during dry weather.

What does septic have to do with water quality? 

Septic systems that are poorly designed, installed, operated or maintained can cause serious problems.The most serious problems involve the contamination of nearby waters with disease causing pathogens and nitrates. This negatively impacts the health of humans and wildlife; damages tourism and recreation industries; and is energy intensive as well as expensive to treat and clean the water. 

In the City of Roanoke, the Roanoke River and 11 of the 13 tributaries are impaired. Impaired streams are those that do not meet state water quality standards. The most common pollutant in the City of Roanoke is bacteria. Bacteria comes from pet waste, sewer failure, malfunctioning septic systems, agriculture, and wildlife. Proper septic maintenance is a vital part of creating a Clean Water Legacy in the City of Roanoke.

More Resources:

The Septic Smart Website has great resources for homeowners to learn more.