When you are not able to connect your home onto a city or public sewer system, you can install a septic system in your home's yard and have your own personal waste treatment system. Here are some tips and recommendations to help you install and keep a system well maintained and working properly.

Install and Maintain Your Leach Field

When planning for the installation of a new septic tank or the replacement of an old septic system, the placement of your drainage leach field is an important consideration. The soil in the area should have good drainage qualities; otherwise, your leach field will not work properly, and your system may back up into your yard and home. Soils containing high amounts of clay will prevent the waste water from seeping into the surrounding soil.

You can have a soil engineer or your local Department of Agriculture test the soil in the proposed site to make sure it has adequate drainage. If the soil does not allow proper drainage, you can choose a different site or excavate the soil and replace it with material with better drainage.

Make sure the site is also not near your home or a vegetable garden where you will be growing produce you plan to eat. It is recommended to provide at least ten feet of space between the drain field and your home, a vegetable garden, and a body of water.

Landscape Appropriately Above

The type of landscaping and materials you install above your septic system are also important to consider. You don't want to install a paved parking area above your septic system and leach field, as it can damage the system, and you will have to tear the paving up to complete any maintenance, repairs, or replacements to your system.

Instead, it is recommended to grow small vegetation on the site above, such as grasses, and other shallow-rooted plants. It is best to have some type of vegetation growing in the soil above your drain field, as it helps suck up the excess moisture and prevents the soil from eroding. Do not plant large trees above the drain field, as the roots can grow into the system and cause damage.

Maintain Your Septic System

As you use your home's septic system, it is recommended to limit use of your kitchen sink disposal, as this puts excessive amounts of waste in your septic system. Over time, this will cause your septic system to overflow, and it will need to be pumped more frequently. And if this occurs, you may smell a sewage smell in your yard where the drain field is located. There may also be excess water coming up from the soil, or the grass or other vegetation will be growing more more lushly than other areas of your yard due to the extra nutrients from the waste.

Depending on the size of your septic tank and how many people live in your home, you will need to pump your tank either more or less frequently. You can talk to your professional septic service to an estimate of how frequently they recommend pumping your tank. For example, according to the National Environmental Services Center, for a 1500-gallon tank capacity with a household of four people, you can expect to pump your tank approximately every four years.

The timing of when you pump your tank is also important, especially when you live in a northern climate. It is better to pump your tank in the spring instead of in the fall, as the ground is beginning to thaw and the risk of its contents freezing has passed. If you pump your tank in the fall, having a lower amount of tank waste and beneficial bacteria can cause your tank to become colder more easily and put your septic system at risk of freezing within the ground.

Contact a company that handles septic tank repairs and installation for more information.