1. What causes a sewer to backup?

    Most sewer backups happen because the line is plugged with debris. However, backups can be caused by several factors including the condition of the sewer system itself, natural phenomena such as earth movement and heavy rainfall, and the incorrect use of the system by the public.

  2. When there's a sewer backup what should I do?

    When a backup occurs, call us at 1-800-528-0061.

  3. Should I call my insurance company?

    Yes. Many insurance policies cover sewage backup cleanup and the cost of restoring, repairing or replacing damaged property. Your agent can provide full details.

  4. What kinds of problems do fats, oils, and grease cause?

    Sewer capacity constraints are frequently caused by improper materials, including fats, oils, and greases being introduced into the sewer system by residents and businesses. If you are a restaurant owner or a commercial operator with a grease trap, please ensure that your grease trap is serviced regularly.

  5. Is it safe to flush prescription drugs or other medication down the toilet?

    No. Prescription drugs are harmful to the good bacteria that chemically break down sewage. Unused medications can be returned to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.

  6. How long does a septic system last?

    A well-maintained system usually lasts about 25 to 35 years, after which the system will need to be replaced or upgraded.

  7. How much does it cost to replace a septic system?

    The cost to install or replace a septic system depends on the type of system needed:

    • Type I: $10,000 to $20,000
    • Type II: $20,000 to $30,000
    • Type III: $30,000 to $50,000
  8. How do I find a Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP) in my area?

    Visit owrp.asttbc.org/rowp-finder to find a list of Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioners (ROWP).


  9. How do I locate my septic tank and drainfield?

    If you don’t know where your system is, contact your local Fraser Health office for an as-built diagram of your system. Make sure to keep a copy handy for your next septic system inspection.

    Abbotsford Health Protection Office

  10. How do I know when my septic tank needs to be pumped out?

    Maintain your septic tank by having it pumped out every 3 to 5 years or more often if required. The frequency of pumping depends on the size of your septic tank and the number of users in your household. Your septic tank should be pumped out when the tank is 1/3 full of solids. Removing solids from your septic tank prevents particles from entering the drainfield and soil which is a major cause of a system failure.

  11. Should I use an additive in my septic tank?

    No. If your septic system is maintained properly, there should be more than enough bacteria in your tank to do the job. Many additives can actually do more harm than good, by destroying beneficial bacteria and corroding concrete tanks and distribution boxes as well as degrading the soil structure in your drainfield. As long as you take proper care of your system, it should not need extra “help” with enzymes or bacteria.

  12. What can I plant on top of my drainfield?

    The best thing to plant on top of your drainfield is grass, as it holds the soil and has shallow roots. Shallow rooted native plants or wildflower meadow plants may be suitable, as they do not require much watering or maintenance. Edible plants, such as fruit or vegetables should not be planted over the drainfield.