Septic Information

Although Corcoran will soon have its first water and sewer utility, for some years ahead most residents will continue dispose of waste water through their individual septic systems. To save money and prevent pollution of our lakes and streams from damaged septic systems, Hennepin County Environmental Services encourages everyone to keep these septic-smart practices in mind.

Septic Systems Tips

Why You Need Good Waste Water Treatment

The septic system is designed to treat waste water for a specific site. Proper treatment of waste water reduces health risks to humans and animals and prevents surface and groundwater contamination.

Many synthetic cleaning products and other chemical used in the house can be toxic to humans, pets, and wildlife. If allowed to enter a failing septic system; these products may reach groundwater, nearby surface water, or the ground surface.

Water Use
The total amount of water and the pattern of water use affects how the septic system works. For complete and uniform treatment of wastes, the system needs time to work. The ideal situation would be to have waste water enter the system as evenly as possible through out the day and week. Every time water is used, waste water enters the septic tank and an equal amount of water leaves the tank for the drainfield. Large volumes of water entering the system in a short period of time may agitate and re-suspend sludge and scum into the liquid contents. If this happens, suspended solids are carried into the soil treatment system, clogging soil pores and preventing adequate treatment.

Improving Your Septic System Performance
By controlling water use, selecting appropriate products, and making wise disposal decisions, you can improve performance of the system and avoid major problems.

A typical Minnesotan uses about 110 gallons of water per day. About 60 % of that water is used in the bathroom. One of the best ways to reduce the amount of water treated by the septic is to replace old water-using appliances. Reducing water use conserves the water resources and helps the septic system.

  • Do not use an "every flush" toilet bowl disinfectants that are placed in the toilet bowl.
  • Use moderate amounts of "white" toilet paper. Some dyes used in paper are difficult for bacteria to break down.
  • Fill basin to wash hands or dishes instead of washing under running water.
  • Use the minimum amount of soap necessary to clean the dishes or while bathing.
  • Do not use garbage disposal or dispose of vegetables, meat, fat, oil, coffee grounds and other undigested food products in the septic system.
  • Select front-loading washing machine that uses 40% less water
  • Recharge the water softener as infrequently as possible or re-route water outside the septic system. It does not need to be treated.
  • Never let wash water from latex paint on brushes or rollers go down the drain into the septic system.
  • Distribute wash loads evenly through out the week to avoid overloading the system with large amounts of water.
  • Additives, particularly degreasers, may contain carcinogens (cancer- causing agents) that flow directly into the groundwater along with the treated sewage. Minn. Rules Chapter 7080, specifies that additives must not be used as a means of reducing the frequency of proper maintenance and removal of scum and sludge from the septic tank.

There is no such thing as a quick fix or safe and effective septic system additive. EPA or USDA approval only means that the products contain no hazardous material. It does not mean the products are effective at what they claim to do. Starters, feeder's additives and cleaners are heavily promoted to homeowners through direct mail and telephone. Don't be mislead!
Frequency of Pumping

The septic tank MUST be periodically cleaned (pumped) to remove floating scum and sludge that accumulate. If either floating scum or sludge is allowed to enter the soil treatment system (drainfield) it will cause expensive and often irreparable damage. How often to clean a septic tank depends on its size, use, and operating condition. A typical household will calculate a cleaning frequency of 18-30 months. Contact a qualified septic system professional from the local yellow pages for additional advice. NEVER GO MORE THAN 36 MONTHS BETWEEN CLEANINGS!!!!!
Do septic and well systems have to be inspected before a property transfer?

The law requires that prior to signing an agreement to sell or transfer real property, a seller must disclose to a buyer the status and location of the septic system. The seller must disclose this information in writing. Local government ordinances, especially in shoreland areas, may require inspections prior to property transfer. Currently, Corcoran has no disclosure ordinance requirement.
Further questions or additional information on you septic contact Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department at 612-543-5200 and press 3. Or click on the link below.

Septic Concerns Licensed Installers and Maintenance
MN Pollution Control -- Healthy Septic Tanks
MN Polution Control For more information on environmental
Septic Handbook

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