Cobb County Government
Watershed Stewardship Program
Connecting Community to Local Ecology 

Septic SystemsGuide to Septic System Maintenance

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Septic systems have three components:
1. The septic tank removes large solids, protecting absorption field from clogs.
2. The absorption field distributes wastewater into the soil.
3. The soil filters, cleans and moves wastewater from absorption field to ground or surface water.

Maintenance Requirements:
• Pump septic tank every 3-5 years, removing all liquids and solids

Symptoms of Failure:
• Wastewater at soil surface (sewage odor, soggy soil)
• Wastewater back up into home
• Elevated bacteria levels downstream

Common Causes of Failure:
• Unsuitable Soils
• Construction Faults
• Onsite Water Management
• Fix Water Leaks
• Use Low Flow Fixtures
• Check Water Pressure – should be 80 psi
Do not use the toilet or sink to dispose of household waste (medicine, cleaners, etc.)
Do Note use the garbage disposal
• Limit use of drain cleaners, bleach, and other strong chemicals in toilets and sinks
• Direct downspouts and other runoff away from the absorption field

Related Resources
Eco-Logical Video Episode: Tips to Reduce Your Footprint With Septic Systems
Protecting Your Septic System
A Homeowner's Guide to Septic Systems