An onsite wastewater solution is an investment, and considered an asset, to the value of a home. However, there are often misconceptions (a false idea or belief) that often lead to a ‘pooh-emergency’ for the homeowners. Experts are there to answer questions, but if it is an older system, or you have just recently purchased a home that has a septic already onsite, that you are unfamiliar with, it may be harder to ask these questions. Sure, you can Google it, but who’s to say that it will give you the correct answer?
The first misconception is regarding a wastewater system and that is the old “out of sight, out of mind” cliché. However, this should never be the case. Your system needs careful consideration for all aspects of it. There are parts within the system that will need to be looked at, cleaned, replaced, or even upgraded at some point. Having a Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP), or a maintenance provider, maintenance the system, even just annually, can catch early signs of failure, high water that could potentially damage the field, and blockages within the system. (A maintenance plan should have been specifically designed for your system)
Another misconception is your septic, or alternative onsite wastewater solution, will not need a field, this is incorrect. A field is an essential part of the system. A field may also be called a dispersal field, an absorption field, a drain field, or a tile field. A field usually consists of a grid of perforated pipes that distribute the effluent (wastewater) over a large area. These pipes are usually surrounded by gravel to increase soil surface area for absorption. The gravel acts as a storage for effluent, to prevent the wastewater from surfacing while the soil percolates (absorbs). The field is designed with the septic to accommodate the property and its plumbed buildings. The field is not a parking lot, it is suggested that 70% of soil compaction is on the first drive over! Also, soil percolation (absorption) is better for sewage wastewater with air in the soil, so any compaction is detrimental to the field’s health.
The third misconception associated with a wastewater system is, it can handle anything. Many folks believe you can put whatever you want into the system with no consequences. This is untrue in nature for many reasons, but the main reason is that things, like food cannot be digested in the system and things, like chemicals, can kill off bacteria and therefore create an odour outside of the house.
Misconceptions can have negative impacts on a wastewater system and your wallet. It is best to talk to an expert in wastewater management and get familiar with the system before any damage is done.