Both conventional and aerobic wastewater systems are effective when properly maintained. Collin County requires the installation of aerobic systems for new home construction and septic system replacement.
Our septic systems are designed to handle human waste, dishwasher, shower and washing machine effluent. And that's it! Nevertheless, a certain amount of detergents, chemicals, fats, food, toilet paper, etc. will inevitably enter the system. These products do not breakdown readily and consequently your system will eventually need to be pumped out. Keep in mind that 95 percent of any system's performance depends on what is sent down the drain.
Septic systems utilize naturally occurring bacteria to help dissolve most material that enters the system. Common sense would tell you not to put non-biodegradable material into your system. Examples of these materials would include sanitary napkins, condoms, socks, cigarette filters, plastic, toys, cat box litter, etc. But you can also lengthen the time between pump outs by not introducing chlorine, bleach, paint, mud, dirt, or harsh chemicals like drain cleaners. These agents will defeat the system's ability to digest and disperse waste.
Your system will not do a very good job of processing animal fat or undigested food (including coffee grounds). Consequently you should try to limit the use of your garbage disposal.
Your system was designed to process waste using a capacity based on the number of bedrooms in the home. Many guests at one time for several days can easily overwhelm your system causing a backup. When a drain field system backs up, solid matter can be pushed into the drain field. If this happens too many times, the drain field pipes will become clogged and will need to be replaced. An aerobic system backup can cause damage to system parts and should be examined by a wastewater system professional.
In one word: NO! This also includes periods when your house is unoccupied such as when it is up for sale. You aerator needs to turn on daily; otherwise solids in the tank will not circulate, the bacteria and enzymes in your tank will die, and your system may require pumping and a system restart.
Collin County and North Texas residents do experience occassional brief power outages. If the outage is momentary, or less than an hour or so, check the circuit breaker to make certain that the breaker was not tripped by the outage. When the rare ice or wind storm takes out the electricity for a day or more, aerobic system owners are advised not to use their system as this will eventually cause a backup in the system. Again, make sure the circuit breaker was not tripped when the power comes back on.