Holding Tank:
DOs and DON'Ts
  • learn the location of your septic tank.  Keep a sketch of it handy with your maintenance
    record for service visits.
  • have your septic system inspected annually and pumped out regularly by a licensed
  • keep your septic tank cover  accessible for inspections and pumpings.  Install risers if
  • keep a detailed record of repairs, pumpings, inspections, permits issued, and other
    maintenance  activities.
  • conserve water to avoid overloading the system.  Be sure to repair any leaky faucets or

  • go down into a septic tank.  Toxic gases are produced by the natural treatment processes
    in septic tanks and can kill in minutes. Extreme care should be taken when inspecting a
    septic tank, even when just looking in.
  • allow anyone to drive or park over any part of the system.
  • plant anything over or near the drainfield except grass. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs
    may clog and damage the drain lines.
  • make or allow repairs to your septic system without obtaining the required health
    department permit.  
  • use septic tank additives. These products usually do not help and some may even be
    harmful to your system.
  • use your toilet as a trash can or poison your septic system by pouring harmful chemicals
    and cleansers down the drain.  
It is important to monitor the liquid depth level in the tank.  
If it gets too high, it may back up into the building.  
Always hire a pumping contractor licensed by the State of Illinois.  
The Marion County Health Department has listings
of licensed contractors in the area.
Be sure to exercise appropriate caution
when inspecting a septic tank.  
Never allow anyone to inspect a tank alone
or go down into a septic tank.  
Toxic gases are produced by the natural treatment processes in septic
tanks and can kill in minutes - even just looking in the tank can be
Do not flush the following items! These items can quickly
fill your unit with solids that cannot be treated, and will require that you contact a
licensed contractor to pump the system more frequently.
  • coffee grinds
  • dental floss
  • disposable diapers
  • kitty litter
  • sanitary napkins
  • tampons
  • cigarette butts
  • condoms
  • fat, grease or oil
  • paper towels
Hazardous chemicals, such as:
  • paints
  • varnishes
  • thinners
  • waste oils
  • photographic solutions
  • pesticides

Food Safety
Hand Washing
Power Outage
Safe Food Temp

Aerobic System
Holding Tank
Sand Filters:
Seepage System
Waste Stabilation
Pond / Lagoon

Body Art
Lead Poisoning Act
Lyme Disease
West Nile Virus
When choosing which type of system to use, certain factors must be considered so that the system
selected will best serve the individual's needs:
  1. Type of soil on the property
  2. Topography (lay of the land)
  3. Lot size; available property for the installation
  4. Surrounding features - wells (both yours and the neighbors'), water lines,  property lines,
    driveways, etc.

If you have any questions concerning this guide or if you wish to apply for a permit to
install one of the above private sewage disposal systems, please feel free to contact:

Marion County Health Department
Division of Environmental Health
118 Cross Creek Boulevard
Salem, Illinois  62881

Telephone: 618-548-3878
Fax:  618-548-3866