Keep Your Septic System Working Properly

Do’s & Don’ts of your Aerobic Septic System

Many operational problems with onsite septic systems exist because owners are unaware of the results their daily practices have on these systems. It is the owner’s responsibility to operate the wastewater treatment system to the best of their ability; to keep maintenance to a minimum and insure high effluent quality. Please use the lists below as reference.​


  • Conserve water; your system treats 20-60 gallons of water per hour. A 500 gallon per day system treats 20 gallons per hour. A 1,500 gallon per day system treats 60 gallons per hour.

  • Divert roof drains and keep sump pumps away from the septic system.

  • Try and do laundry over a week’s time and not all in one day; recommended detergents are liquid, low-sudsing, low phosphates, and biodegradable. We recommend Ecos & Seventh Generation. Do NOT use powdered laundry detergents, pods, scent boosters, or additives of any kind.  

  • Minimize the amount of solid wastes; your system is designed to treat human waste and toilet paper. The more solids that go in (i.e. garbage disposal), the more often they have to come out, by having your system pumped.

  • Have a maintenance contract with a company that is trained and authorized to work on your system brand. This will insure that all mechanical parts receive proper maintenance.

  • Notify us if your alarm goes off or if you notice something out of the ordinary.

  • Have your septic system pumped regularly.

  • Keep records of pumping, repairs, inspections, and maintenance.

  • Find your septic tanks and field. Keep a drawing of it with records.

Don’t / Items to Avoid…
  • Do NOT discharge backwash from any type of water softener and/or iron filtration systems.

  • Inert materials; dental floss, cigarette filters, bandages, bandages, plastics, condoms, hair, or lint should not be flushed.

  • Paper products; disposable diapers, tampons, sanitary napkins, cotton swabs, cotton balls, facial tissue, baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or quilted toilet tissue should not be flushed. These items will not break down and likely cause a blockage in your piping, which will result in sewage backing up into your home. “FLUSHABLE” CLEANING WIPES OF ANY KIND SHOULD NOT BE FLUSHED. 

  • Do NOT use Charmin or Quilted Northern; they do not break down adequately. Look for NSF approved toilet paper.

  • Do NOT install garbage disposals. They can cause premature septic system failures and require annual pumping of your septic tank.

  • Food wastes; animal fats and bones, grease, coffee grounds, citrus fruit rinds, corn cobs, or eggshells should not be put into the garbage disposal, drains, or toilets.

  • Cleaning products / commercial additives; some disinfecting cleaners may kill the organisms needed to keep the good bacteria level proper in your tanks for treatment to occur correctly. Do NOT use powdered laundry detergents, pods, scent boosters, or additives of any kind.

  • Do NOT use Tide laundry products. Do NOT use pods, of any brand. They are too powerful, and will kill the organisms needed to keep the good bacteria level proper in your tanks for treatment to occur correctly. Tide will also prematurely clog the filters which prevent solids from leaving the tank, causing sludge build up, potentially leading to a backup inside your home or an overflow out of the top of the septic tank. 

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others have found no evidence that additives support a normally functioning onsite treatment system.

  • Chemicals / toxins; the following materials will kill the organisms needed to keep the good bacteria level proper in your tanks for treatment to occur correctly; paint, paint thinner, solvents, drain cleaners, automotive fluids, fuels, pods, and pesticides. 

  • Do NOT rinse paint or dry wall compound down drains inside the home. It can clog filters in your system and may kill the organisms needed to keep the good bacteria level proper in your tanks.

  • Do NOT plant bushes or trees on or near septic field; their roots can damage or clog your septic field.  Do NOT drive on or near your septic system - you can damage the field, pipes, or tanks.

  • Do NOT build over the septic field. This includes decks, driveways and above ground swimming pools.

Contact Us

Counties: Boone, Northern Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Northern Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Winnebago 

Areas We Cover in Northern Illinois

Cities Include: Addison, Antioch, Barrington, Batavia, Belvidere, Bloomingdale, Caledonia, Capron, Crystal Lake, Deer Park, Dundee, Elburn, Elgin, Garden Prairie, Genoa, Glen Ellyn, Hampshire, Hawthorn Woods, Huntley, Inverness, Kildeer, Kingston, Lake Holiday, Lake Villa, Lake Zurich, Lombard, Long Grove, Machesney Park, McHenry, Medinah, Naperville, Oswego, Palatine, Plainfield, Rockford, Roscoe, Roselle, St. Charles, Sandwich, Schaumburg, Sleepy Hollow, Somonauk, Spring Grove, Sycamore, Wadsworth, Wauconda, Wayne, West Chicago, Yorkville

Northern Illinois Septic Service, Inc.

46W350 Lenschow Road, Hampshire, IL 60140
(815) 981-8954 .

© 2019 by Northern Illinois Septic Service, Inc. Proudly created with