Septic Sense

Welcome to the FVRD’s source of information on how your Septic System works, how often it should be monitored, inspected and maintained, and how you can extend its lifespan while protecting the health of your family and the environment!

Caring for your Septic System in Winter

By taking some simple precautions and preparing your septic system for winter, you can prevent many problems that can happen in the winter months. To keep your system functioning in tip-top shape, follow these tips.

Snow Accumulation

Believe it or not, snow over your tank and drainfield is actually a good thing! Snow is a great insulator – it helps keep the heat of the sewage in the system so that it won’t freeze even if temperatures drop. Compact snow, however, is a different story. Driving over your snow-covered drainfield can compact the snow and send the frost even deeper. Also, try not to pile too much snow over top of your drainfield as it can get quite heavy and cause potential damage.

Septic System Usage

If the septic system in question is not used regularly, it can freeze. Make sure you are regularly using the system so plenty of sewage enters the tank and helps it maintain a temperature that will not cause it to freeze.

Plumbing Leaks

If a toilet or tap is leaking in your home, it will send a small trickle of water into your septic system. That trickle of water can easily freeze in the system and eventually cause the pipe to freeze completely. Make sure all plumbing leaks are properly fixed before the winter months hit.

Vegetation on your Drainfield

During the summer and fall, plant some vegetation that does not have a deep root system, such as grass. The grass will act as insulation when winter hits, and can also help keep your septic system from freezing when it’s cold out.

Do your part - have Septic Sense!

Below you will find a series of information sheets on taking care of your septic system.

Septic Sense - An Introduction to Septic System Care [PDF - 367 KB]

Septic System Maintenance Best Practices [PDF - 280 KB]

What Should NOT go in your Tank [PDF - 182 KB]

Buying or Selling a Home with a Septic System [PDF - 184 KB]

Signs of Septic System Failure [PDF - 308 KB]

Staying Safe Around your Septic System [PDF - 121 KB]

Frequently Asked Questions [PDF - 117 KB]