Maintaining a commercial septic system isn’t too costly if you manage to do it regularly. In fact, if maintained properly, a large commercial septic tank can last up to four decades without the need for major repairs. Depending on the location and required materials, the maintenance cost and lifespan of a septic tank can vary, but there are some best practices you can use to make it last as long as possible.
It may sound like a cliché, but, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s simply much better to avoid a problem by taking preemptive action than it is to wait for the problem to occur before finding a solution. This is especially the case with commercial septic systems, where an unchecked problem could drive away customers with foul smelling, overflowing waste water. If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are some of the major benefits of regularly maintaining your commercial septic system:
1. Extends the life expectancy of the septic tank
Regular maintenance of a commercial septic tank can significantly extend its life expectancy by preventing damage in the system. For example, regularly pumping out excess water, especially after heavy rainfall, will prevent waste water and other residue from backing up the pipes. This will also prevent your toilet bowls from overflowing.
2. Saves you money on sudden and major repairs
Routine maintenance of your septic system may seem like the more expensive option, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is because it will prevent serious forms of damage from occurring that would otherwise require expensive repairs. For example, with regular maintenance, it is unlikelyyou will need to replace all the pipes, fittings, and concrete at the same time.
3. Prevents business downtime and hassle
If you don’t regularly maintain your septic system, it may be at risk of overflowing, which can cause damage to your property and could even force your business to close until the problem is fixed. Periods of downtime can lead to a drop in production or income, costing you money in more ways than fixing your system. Avoid this hassle by conducting routine maintenance to ensure that everything is running as optimally as possible.
You can protect your commercial septic system through regular maintenance and repairs, and this is especially important if you’re running a business which has high volumes of foot traffic or a large capacity septic system. In these cases, it can be difficult to constantly monitor whether everyone is following basic rules, like not flushing trash down the toilets, so you’ll need to conduct periodic checkups and maintenance to avoid any issues.
Here are seven ways you can maintain your septic system to ensure that it always functions properly:
1. Don’t flush garbage: You must enforce policies in your business premises to avoid clogging the septic tank system with materials that are hard to remove and non-biodegradable. For instance, you should prohibit employees and customers from flushing garbage, especially plastic bags, feminine hygiene products, or baby diapers, into the septic tank. This can be difficult to impose, so regular checks of the septic system should be carried to avoid clogging and overflows.
2. Don’t plant trees or shrubs near the drainfield: As plants grow, their roots can damage septic tank systems. If you want to plant trees, do it at least 100 feet away from the area where the septic tank and pipes are located. Otherwise, your system could get backed up and the roots could even puncture your pipes.
3. Keep the diagram/blueprint safe: Always keep a copy of the diagram or blueprint of your septic tank system in case you need it to carry out a repair. You should have at least one print copy and one digital copy saved online for easy access.
4. Install efficient toilets and urinals: In a residential building, flushing water amounts to about 30% of total water consumption. The remaining 70% typically comes from showering, laundry washing, dishwashing, and drinking water. In offices, however, flushing the toilet equates to around 43% of water consumption, and this can be even higher for commercial buildings. Therefore, you might want to consider installing water efficient toilets and urinals.
5. Avoid flushing grease and oil: You shouldn’t pour grease or oil into the drain or toilet because it can clog the pipes as well as the septic drain field. Unfortunately, not many people realize this because grease and oil are assumed to behave as regular liquids. In reality, too much grease in your septic system can even result in you needing a new drain field, which can be very expensive.
6. Divert rainwater from the septic tank drainfield: Water saturation is extremely damaging to drain fields in septic systems. This is because, when a drain field is too saturated, it’s unable to effectively handle liquid waste. Heavy rainfall is the main culprit for flooding commercial septic tanks and drain fields. Luckily, you can avoid this by having a drainage system where the gutters are designed to lead rainwater away from the tank.
7. Keep away cars from the drainfield: Do not allow car parking in the area that surrounds your commercial septic system. Not only will this reduce the risk of accidental damage or crashes, it will also preserve the soil around the septic tank, which should always be covered by lawn grass. This is because grass improves oxygen exchange, which feeds the bacteria working in and around your system.
A commercial septic tank system works similarly to residential septic tanks: it’s a hygienic way of containing organic, human waste, and facilitating its decomposition. The wastewater from septic tanks then flows into the drainfield, where bacteria further digest the organic impurities before the water is absorbed by the soil or gravel surrounding the septic tank.
The main difference between residential and commercial septic systems is the volume capacity. This leads us on to our first tip: if you have a large commercial building or store, you may need to install a water pump system in order to handle larger volumes.
It’s also essential that you understand how your septic tank system works, so you’re able to troubleshoot it. Your employees should at least know which valves to open or close when there is a plumbing emergency, and, as we mentioned earlier, it’s crucial that you have a copy of the system’s diagram to hand in case any repairs are needed.
If you have a commercial septic system, our most important tip is to schedule a maintenance inspection at least once a year. This will help prevent problems from overflows to clogged drain fields.
If you’re in the Kansas City metro area and would like to chat about your commercial septic system, contact us today for your customized quote.