Effluent Filters Maintenance

Methods for Filter Maintenance

There are several proposed methods to perform filter maintenance. They are:

  1. Call a properly State-licensed waste hauler (pumping company) and have them pump the septic tank out. After the tank is pumped out the filter cartridge can be removed from its housing. Wash the residue from the filter with a garden hose back into the septic tank. Reinsert the filter cartridge into the filter housing while properly locking it back into place. This procedure will vary depending on the brand of filter you have. Usually it will consist of a slight turn to lock and unlock the filter from its hold position.
  2. The second alternative method for filter service may be to remove the filter without pumping the septic tank but being very slow with removal of the cartridge so as to minimize the amount of solids and suspended solids that may leave the tank. The servicing process of the effluent filter cartridge will be the same as mentioned in number one above. Please remember that the more careless you are about servicing your filter, the greater the likelihood that your Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) will end up with some undesirable solids in your piping network and drainfield. Too many of these solids (organics) in your drainfield may cause premature failure.

Proper Hygiene

Always keep in mind proper hygiene must always be followed when servicing your effluent filter. Thorough cleansing of exposed body parts and clothing must be properly sanitized to maintain your health and others around you. Pathogens will be present in this environment within which you will be working.

Two-Chamber Septic Tank & Recommended Size

In most cases a two-chamber septic tank will reduce the number of times your filter will require service which results in greater benefit and convenience to the owner. The larger the two-chamber tank, the greater the benefit. You should consider sizing your septic tank a minimum of 1.5 times the minimum code required size.

If you are thinking about having a new POWTS installed or an existing POWTS replaced, you should check with your POWTS installer what the minimum required septic tank size is and what size he is proposing to install. You may also want to discuss the size of the proposed effluent filter as well.


Always keep in mind to practice safe handling methods when servicing the effluent filter. Prolonged exposure to the gases contained within the treatment tank can be lethal and cause death. Always be careful when performing effluent filter maintenance.