Township of Readington, Hunterdon County, New Jersey

SEPTIC SYSTEMS --  OUT-OF-SIGHT  SHOULD NOT BE  OUT-OF-MIND


Do you have an extra $10,000 or $30,000 or maybe even $50,000.  No?  Well not many homeowners do!  If you do not take care of your Septic System, you might hear these numbers when it needs repair or replacement.  Individual septic systems serve many homes and businesses in Readington Township. They are a method of waste water disposal that effectively returns the waste water or effluent into the ground where it is naturally “treated” and returned to the aquifer to be used and reused. Properly maintained septic systems have few adverse effects on the environment.   By contrast, a failing Septic System can adversely affect many things, including streams, nearby wells, and the health of people, pets, and livestock.
                                                                        
Each homeowner is responsible for maintaining THEIR OWN individual septic system. How can you reduce the chance of expensive repairs?  Follow the below guidelines and enjoy many years of trouble-free operation:

Have your septic pumped and inspected every three years:
Pumping extends the life and efficiency of the system and is recommended at 3-year intervals for most systems.  Inspections can spot problems early, avert serious and very costly repairs, and determine if pumping frequency is adequate for the system.

Know exactly where your septic is located.  Plot plans of installed septic systems may be available for your lot at the Hunterdon County Health Department.

Pumping removes solids before they build-up and escape to damage the field. When you have your system pumped, consider installing a concrete riser or permanent marker on the tank to make future pumpings and maintenance easier.

Remember some systems have multiple tanks and some tanks have multiple compartments – be sure all are being pumped.

Reduce water usage:  Fix leaky faucets and toilets: do not flush toilets unnecessarily. Install low-flow fixtures.

Limit cleaning agents, bleach and detergents.   In excess they can be harmful to the system.

Space your showers, laundry and dishwasher loads: Allow your system to rest between high volume uses.

Never dispose toxic or hazardous chemicals through your septic system:  Paint thinners, pesticides, surplus paint, oil and gasoline, etc. should be saved and disposed at the Hazardous Waste Days sponsored by the Hunterdon County Solid Waste Department.

Limit paper products: Use white toilet paper to avoid product dyes. Never put kitchen grease, coffee grounds, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons or cat litter through the septic system.

Garbage disposal and additives: Never add a garbage disposal to an existing septic system. Avoid using septic additives. They are unnecessary and may interfere with the natural bacterial action in your system.

Know the warning signs of a malfunction:  visible effluent, “ponding “, or odors (aside from a vent soil line or roof vent), should not be detectible. Obviously, back flow into the house is also a malfunction.  Should any of these occur, contact the township BOH, County Health Department, or a septic service company for guidance or repair.

Roof drains and sump pumps: discharge from drains and pumps can overload the field and should not be introduced into the septic system.

Septic System Area:  Keep large trees from growing on or near the disposal areas. This will prevent roots from clogging the laterals. Do not drive or park cars or move heavy equipment or place permanent structures over the disposal area.

Additional Information:  For more detailed information, a free guide, “Well and Septic System Care in Hunterdon County,” is available at the Board of Health Office at Readington Township Municipal Bldg., or from the Hunterdon County Health Dept., or online at http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/pdf/health/Well_and_Septic.pdf

There are also many sources of general information on the WWW, here are a couple:
http://www.nj.gov/dep/dwq/owm_home.htm
http://cfpub.epa.gov/owm/septic/index.cfm

Please note that Readington Township Board of Health regulations and code must be
adhered to in the design of your septic system.

Published by: Readington Township Board of Health (pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:9A-3.14)
Article also available online at: http://www.readingtontwp.org/boh_main.html