All I ever wanted to know about waste is how to flush the toilet and, reluctantly, how to use the plunger. If your house is connected to a sewer system, you may be able to get by on that knowledge. However, if you have a septic system you need a little more information to help you avoid future issues.
Areas with Septic Systems
Many properties around Summit County have septic systems. The outlying areas are the more obvious places to find septic systems but there are some in areas you would not expect. Some homes in Frisco Heights and Frisco Terrace, two subdivisions right in the heart of Frisco, still have septic systems. The sewer system is being extended to neighborhoods south of Breckenridge. As it reaches new areas, your working septic is still sufficient. You are not required to connect to the sewer. With that in mind, don’t assume the home is connected to city sewer services, even if your neighbor is.
Best Practices for Septic Systems
Basically, anything that goes down the drain ends up in your septic tank. There, good bacteria eats up some of the waste, some of the waste drains off into your leach field and the rest remains in the tank until it is pumped. The most obvious thing to watch is what you put down your drain. Some of the things to stay away from are things that disrupt the good bacteria working in your septic tank. Household use of products that kill bacteria like bleach, anti-bacterial soaps, and cleansers should be sparingly. Choosing dish and laundry detergents that are low in phosphorus will also help. Avoid putting items down the drain that just stay in the tank; that the bacteria won’t break down. Things like grease and coffee grounds for example. The more of these things that go into the tank, the more often it will need to be pumped.
A less obvious thing to watch that goes down the drain is water. Be consistent with your water usage. For example, don’t do all your laundry on one day; spread it out throughout the week. (If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to put off finishing the laundry!) The influx of water in the tank pushes too much liquid through your tank too quickly and affects the quality of liquid going into your leach field. This could eventually create problems with the drainage and filtering in your leach field, a potentially costly problem.
The second thing you can do is maintain your septic system. This means you should have your tank pumped a minimum of every three years. This may require digging up the covers of the tank to give the septic company access. Don’t be tempted to have it pumped out through the clean out pipes. Their purpose is for easier access to clogs.
Hopefully using a little bit of caution will keep your septic system healthy, working correctly and keep you from having to know more than you care to about your septic system.
Installing a Septic
If you own land or are considering purchasing land in the county where city sewer services are not available, like in Ruby Ranch, Quandary Village or Government Tracts for example, check the county website for specific Summit County septic information. The costs associated with installing a septic system can vary considerably based on your lot.
Septic Inspection upon Sale
A certified inspector must inspect the septic system whenever the property changes hands. The seller is responsible to have the inspection done and supply a use permit to the title company at closing. Be sure and discuss this with your real estate agent if it applies to your property.