Septic Smart Week 2021 – Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

This week, September 20-25th, is SepticSmart Week! SepticSmart Week is an annual event in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designates a week that is focused on how homeowners and renters can care for and maintain their septic systems.

Many homes, as well as businesses, in Anoka County are served by septic systems. It is important that everyone knows how to properly care for their septic systems. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for your septic system, provided by the EPA:

Protect It and Inspect It:


  • Have your system inspected (in general) every 3 years by a licensed contractor and have the tank pumped, when necessary, generally every 3 to 5 years.
  • (TIP: In Anoka County, septic systems are regulated by the cities and townships. Contact your city or township if you have questions about their requirements.)

Think at the Sink:


  • Pour cooking grease or oil down the sink or toilet.
  • Rinse coffee grounds into the sink.
  • Pour household chemicals down the sink or flush them.


  • Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal.
  • Properly dispose of coffee grounds and good.
  • Put grease in a container to harden before discarding in the trash.

Don’t Overload the Commode:


  • Flush non-degradable products or chemicals, such as feminine hygiene products, condoms, dental floss, diapers, cigarette butts, cat litter, paper towels, pharmaceuticals.


  • Dispose of these items in the trash can!

Shield Your Field:


  • Park or drive on your drainfield. The weight can damage the drain lines.
  • Plant trees or shrubs too close to your drainfield – roots can grow into your system and clog it.


  • Consult a septic service professional to advise you on the proper distance for planting trees and shrubs, depending on your septic tank location.

Don’t Strain Your Drain:


  • Concentrate your water use by using your dishwasher, shower, washing machine, and toilet at the same time. All that extra water can really strain your septic system.


  • Stagger the use of water-generating appliances. This can be helpful especially if your system has not been pumped in a long time.
  • Become more water efficient by fixing plumbing leaks and consider installing bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators and water-efficient products.

Learn more about septic systems and how to be a SepticSmart homeowner here. If you experience a problem with your septic system, be sure to contact a licensed septic contractor right away. If you aren’t sure when your septic system was last pumped, most cities/township have this information on file, as they regulate septic systems in Anoka County.

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