Maintenance sign for septic tanks

Why Regular Maintenance is Necessary for Septic Tanks

If you live downtown then maintaining a septic system is the least of your worries but for residents on the fringes of the 416, and especially in the 905 phone exchange areas, having a septic system is simply part of living in the country, or owning a weekend cottage.


A septic system is like having your very own onsite sewage treatment facility. It’s used primarily where access to a municipal sewer system is neither available nor economically practical, and is odourless when properly maintained. A well-constructed, properly maintained tank could last indefinitely but the leach or drain field will require some treatment or perhaps replacement after about 15 to 20 years of service.


In the Greater Toronto Area, there has been a steady devolution of the control of septic systems from regional health units to local municipalities, as part of their over-all responsibilities for building code matters. The new Part Eight of the building code sets out five different classes of septic systems in a uniform and detailed fashion including requirements for clearances of systems from bodies of water, as to depth and anchorage of septic tanks and holding tanks, and standards for operation and maintenance of septic systems. An additional feature of recent legislative changes is a new requirement for the testing and licensing of installers of sewage systems.

For your septic system, keep in mind the following recommendations:

  • Too much water can upset the delicate biological balance within the tank and, discharging more water into the system than it can handle can cause it to back up.
  • Limit the use of household cleaning chemicals as excessive amounts can stop the bacterial action in the septic tank.
  • Don’t deposit other household waste like coffee grounds, cooking fats, disposable diapers, cigarette butts, and other non-decomposable materials as they will fill the septic tank, and plug the system.
  • Use a high-quality toilet tissue that breaks up easily when wet. Test your brand by placing a handful of toilet tissue in a fruit jar half-full of water, seal, and shake. If the tissue breaks up easily, the product is suitable for the septic tank.
  • Never park or drive on your drainfield, keep roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainwater drainage systems away from your drainfield area – the excess water will slow or stop the system, and plant trees away from your drainfield to keep roots from growing into your septic system.


Manufacturers suggest you have your septic tank pumped and cleaned by a professional every one to three years depending on the size of the tank, the volume of wastewater, and how many solids go into it. Constant foul odor, slow drains, and drains that back up are all telltale signs that your septic tank needs pumping.


Book an Appointment for Septic Tank Maintenance with Your Plumbers in Richmond Hill and Newmarket

If you have questions or concerns about your septic system, contact the plumbers at Aaron & Son Plumbing & Drain Services. We offer services in Toronto and York Region, including Newmarket and Richmond Hill.