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Septic System

A Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems



The state sanitary code requires that when connecting to a sewer line, all septic tanks, seepage pits, dosing tanks, dry wells and cesspools must be emptied of waste and filled completely with gravel, stones, sand or soil. Old Tappan requires that a connection permit be filed by the licensed contractor with the Building Department. This application is reviewed carefully to assure that all components have properly been abandoned compared to the site plans on file in the department.


All repairs, including lids, risers and baffles must be inspected at completion by the Board of Health.  Click here for Board of Health permit.  Only licensed septic companies are permitted to perform repairs to septic systems in the Borough of Old Tappan.  


Proper maintenance of your active system would include pumping every three years and checking the baffles (pipes inside the tank that insure proper solids retention) and lids of the tank for problems. 
Also, acquaint yourself with the site plan showing where all components are located. Any unexpected sinkage or soggy soil over a tank or pit should be checked out immediately. Avoid hydraulically overloading your system with plumbing leaks, misplaced downspouts, sump discharges and excessive laundry. Proper maintenance will prolong the life of your septic system and delay the necessity of hooking up to the sewer line until you are ready to do it.
The Ten Rules of Septic Systems
  1. Do not pour grease, fats or oils down the drain.
  2. Do not connect a garbage disposal to your sink.
  3. Do not dispose of paints or household chemicals  down the drain. You may use disinfectants in small amounts. 
  4. Do not dispose of automobile fluids down the drain. That includes gas, oil, transmission or brake fluid, grease or antifreeze.
  5. Do not kill the beneficial bacteria in your septic system by rinsing pesticides, herbicides or any other toxins down the drain. 
  6. Do not dispose of non-biodegradable items in your toilet including cigarette butts, disposable diapers or feminine hygiene products.
  7. Do not allow water to run while washing dishes and thawing frozen foods. You may also consider limiting toilet flushes.
  8. Do not run half loads in the dishwasher or washing machine. Stagger loads.
  9. Use only biodegradable products to keep your septic system healthy.
  10. Do not connect “clean water” sources such as footing or sump pumps to the septic system.