Private septic systems are often misunderstood and worse often ignored. You don't have to be an expert to know that mixing drinking water and septic water is a bad idea! Regardless of what type of septic system you have, it must be pumped out regularly to protect your family and your drinking water supply. Septic pumping and inspection should be done at least every four years.
Some homeowners have a "sand mound" type system which is an obvious hump on your property usually with white pipes sticking out of it (click here for photo). However, you may have an older style in the ground system called a cesspool like the one shown in this photo. It is important to know where your septic tank and drain/leach field are located on your property! Don't plant trees on or near your system as the roots can damage your septic. Don't park vehicles over your system as this too can cause damage. Many new systems are installed with an alarm to notify you that the tank is full and needs to be pumped out. If you do not have an alarm on your system and it has been more than four years since your last pumping, make it a priority to have this done. If you don't maintain your system it will get ruined and the cost of a new septic system is around $18,000!