Pumping Septic Tanks

By: Jason Decker, Environmental Health Specialist

Spring is in the air!  New growth will begin soon, flowers will be blooming, and trees will be budding.  Among other spring activities, many people use this time of year to complete some spring cleaning in and around their homes. 

Speaking of cleaning, do you know when the last time you cleaned your effluent filter in your septic tank?  (The effluent filter prevents excessive amounts of solids from exiting the septic tank and entering the absorption field.) Do you know when the last time your septic tank was pumped?  Johnson County Public Health recommends cleaning your effluent filter every 3-6 months and having your septic tank pumped out every 3-5 years (based on usage.)

Many times these crucial tasks are forgotten or ignored. This can lead to costly repairs or even failed septic systems. A failed septic system may cause a financial burden, pose a risk to human and animal health, and pollute the environment. When systems fail, untreated sewage may surface on the ground or cause a backup in the home/building.  The sewage carries pathogens and other contaminants that can make people and animals ill if not properly treated. 

Johnson County Public Health is reminding business and homeowners the importance of continual maintenance of septic systems. Regular maintenance and quickly addressing issues may save homeowners money in repairs while preventing potential illness and harmful impacts to our environment.  Johnson County Public Health has created a Septic Maintenance Log for anyone who has a septic system.  This sticker will allow individuals to track their activities and act as a reminder of when the next septic system task is due.  These Septic Maintenance Logs are available at the Johnson County Public Health office – located at 855 S. Dubuque St. Suite 217, Iowa City, IA 52240