What should I do after I have my system installed?

It is recommended to keep a copy of your septic permit for future reference. This shows you to scale the location of your septic system components in relation to your home. Having a copy of the permit will also be beneficial when you are considering any home renovations, landscaping projects and driveway installation. 

How often will I need to have my tank pumped?

Per the conditions of a DNREC approved permit:

(18) the system shall be maintained in such a manor as to prevent abnormal odors or surfacing, pooling and/or discharge of wastewater onto any surface waters.

(21) the septic tank must be pumped by a licensed class F liquid waste hauler at a minimum of once every three years.

Can I build over my septic tank?

Per the conditions of a DNREC approved permit:

(19) the sites of the initial and replacement absorption facilities shall not be covered by asphalt or concrete or subject to vehicular traffic or similar loading that would adversely affect the soils. These sights shall be maintained so that they are free from encroachments by ancillary buildings and additions to main structures.

What is the first thing I can check if there is a backup into the home?

The first option is to call the office and schedule the pump truck for service.

The second option, when in an extreme emergency, would be to check your septic tank. It is an option to unscrew the lids on the septic tank. If the levels in the septic tank are high, it is possible that you could have something clogged in the inlet pipe (this would be in the lid closest to the home). A rake or shovel could knock the clog out. One other issue could be that the filter located in the outlet side of the septic tank (the second lid from the home) is clogged with particles. The filter can be pulled straight up out of the housing and cleaned. Please pay attention to the way you pulled the filter out and insert it back in the same way. Keep in mind the tank has dangerous gases and bacteria, it is recommend to call a professional to help you with all of your septic system needs.      

What are the major dos and don'ts of maintaining a trouble-free system?


  • Conserve water to reduce the amount of wastewater that must be treated and disposed.
  • Repair any leaking faucets and toilets.
  • Only discharge biodegradable wastes into system.
  • Restrict garbage disposal use.
  • Divert down spouts and other surface water away from your drainfield.
  • Keep your septic tank cover accessible for tank inspections and pumping.
  • Have your septic tank pumped regularly and checked for leaks and cracks.
  • Call a professional when you have problems.
  • Compost your garbage or put it in the trash.


  • Flush sanitary napkins, tampons, disposable diapers, condoms, wipes and such products into your system.
  • Dump solvents, oils, paints, thinners, disinfectants, pesticides or poisons down the drain that can disrupt the treatment process and contaminate groundwater.
  • Dig in your drainfield or build anything over it.
  • Plant anything over your drainfield except grass.
  • Drive over your drainfield or compact the soil in any way.

— Source, NOWRA

Helpful PDF Download From DNREC

A Guide for Delaware Homeowners about On-Site Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems (PDF)