The Problems With Septic Tank Filters
When North Carolina passed the law in 1999 that required new septic tanks to have filters they created a problem.
They did not create a paper trail mandating that someone clean the filter once per year.
And they did not create a program to educate the public about the importance of cleaning the filter.
Septic installers may or may not inform you about this necessary task.
And, if they do, it is usually in the form of a brief statement, “Clean your filter once per year.” or a pamphlet.
Counties also do not educate homeowners on this task.
You see, for years septic tanks were set-it-and-forget-it-type devices.
Then filters came out and suddenly yearly, or at least bi-yearly, simple maintenance became necessary.
To keep the filter clean.
All you do is spray it out with a hose.
The filter's purpose is simple: it keeps the larger poopy particles in the tank and prolongs the life of the drainfield.
There is good research behind the use of filters.
Unfortunately the effect of filters on premature drain field failure is not immediately apparent.
It takes time—sometimes two to three decades, for problems to get bad enough that one can see them in the septic system.
And by then you often need a new drain field (really!).
Additionally, the positive benefits of filters are not immediately obvious.
Remember, we didn't figure out that filters were useful until after we did research.
So, expecting homeowners to somehow magically intuit their usefulness is a stretch.
And so here we are.
Some people hate septic tank filters.
They secretly throw them away after the tank is installed—not understanding their purpose or usefulness.
Still others get rid of them after some time because they get tired of regularly cleaning them when they clog.
If your filter is working properly it is supposed to clog—to keep your drainfield free of larger poopy particles and to force you to clean it.
Cleaning a septic tank's filter is gross and its time consuming.
I get it.
And if your filter is really small you get stuck cleaning it more often than once per year.
Then there is the reality that if you want to make it easy to clean your filter you have to pay money to have risers installed.
Nobody likes to pay money!
Because its money!
And the alternative is to pay someone to do it for you.
What to do?