We get very comfortable doing "our business" in our home bathrooms and just assuming that little flusher is going to work every time....until it doesn't! Maintaining your septic system can easily get put to the back burner, but we're here to remind you that maintenance every 3-5 years is a MUST! Now if you live in a city center and are serviced by a public septic system, then more power to you. But for country folks on private systems, which is a majority of the state of Vermont, you need to take care of these things! Maintenance includes having atrained professional comeandboth pump yourseptic holding tank as well as inspect the tank and lines. Inour area, this can run from $200-$300 on averageand well worth the investment.Therecommendation of 3-5 years depends on the number of people living in the home and the amount ofusage the system is getting. Now even with private systems, there are still many different types such as conventional, mound and alternative, and a trained professional will know what's best, but here are some basic DON'Ts that we think any home owner can follow: 1) Garbage disposals are NOT recommended and please don't pour food or grease down the drain. 2) Bacteria additives such as yeast and RiD-X are not needed. Some additives will do more harm than good. (Yeast will only break down starches.) 3) Don't overuse cleaning chemicals -- it will kill the good bacteria in the system. 4) Above ground swimming pools or ice rinks should not be installed near or above your septic tank or leach fields. 5) Non-biodegradable items such as wipes, diapers, cigarette butts or feminine hygiene products should not be disposed of in the toilet. 6) Engine oil, gas turpentine or other non-biodegradable chemicals should not be poured down the drain. 7) Water softeners should not back flush/empty into the septic tank to self clean. This will add sulfides and chlorides to the septic system that will kill good bacteria. We hope these tips help and if you can't remember the last time you've had your septic pumped, call your local provider now before the ground is frozen. As an owner in the industry use to tell me, "A straight flush beats a full house anytime!".