• 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 contractor.
  • Keep your septic tank cover accessible for inspections and pumpings. Install risers if necessary.
  • 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 toilets.


  • 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.