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If you have a sand mound


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Tell me about it. How long has it lasted/did it last? Did you do anything special to keep it going? How expensive is it to replace?


We've been here seven years, and we generally treat our septic system/sand mound pretty well -- no super thick toilet paper, extremely limited bleach (like, I can't remember the last time I used bleach), no anti-bacterial soap, limited food in the garbage disposal. But in reality, we have seven people and a lot of laundry and toilet use, so there's only so much I can limit the water and such heading to the septic system. I don't know when the sand mound was put in. DH thinks I'm worrying unnecessarily about the sand mound dying, but I am unconvinced. There are no signs of a problem thus far, but how concerned should I be about it?


ETA: The holding tanks have been pumped twice since we moved in, and both times there wasn't a lot of stuff to pump. It's on my list for this spring to have it pumped again, since it's been a few years. Also, I have read that you should get the sand mound inspected every so often; DH says it has some small pipes to it that are for testing, so I guess I should do that as well.

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My husband is a sewer/water contractor. We don't do a lot of septics because we mainly do municipal work, but I can say there are so many variables to your situation, the only real answer is, no one knows. It sounds like you are doing all the right things as far as what you put into the system and what you don't. Don't buy into monthly or yearly chemical treatments as they are a waste. Septics work on anaerobic bacteria. Adding a chemical based product won't increase those nor make them healthier.

There is a product out there called an aerobic treatment unit (atu) that we do install and believe in. It basically puts another tank in that introduces air into the system and promotes aerobic bacteria as well as the anaerobic. But it's not accepted in all states and may not even be necessary or helpful for your system.

If you're not having problems, I'd just keep doing what you're doing. All septic systems no matter the type have a life span on them. They will all fail at some point. It's part of being a homeowner. Regular pumping and having it checked for how much sludge is in the tank is about all you can do :).

Good for you for being aware of it though. Most people are of the party "out of sight out of mind" when it comes to their septics.

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Well, I don't have the PP's qualifications, but we had a septic tank/field work well for about 10 years (never pumped it) by using those bacteria packets every month or so (flushed them down the toilet).  We would check the tank, but it was never in need of pumping.


FWIW, I once killed the whole system with a borax home-made-dishwashing-detergent idea of mine (eco-friendly cheap online idea - yeah, terrible idea!) - everything came back fine again.  But we did treat with those packets again as soon as we realized what I had done.  


We also have friends who swear by throwing in portions of dead chicken every once in a while, but I am not sure if they are serious or messing with us.

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