Never put oil, gasoline, paint thinners, solvents, photographic chemicals, weed or insect killers down the drain. Even latex paint is unhealthy for your septic system. Don’t use chemical drain cleaners or chemical-based cleaning products. Don’t dispose of pharmaceuticals down your drains or toilets.
What should you not put in a septic tank?
- 7 Things You Should Never Flush If You Have a Septic System 1 Nonbiodegradable items. One of the most important things to avoid putting into a septic system? 2 Food. Food scraps will clog your septic system. 3 Drain cleaner. 4 Too much water. 5 Toys. 6 Paper towels. 7 Paint or paint thinner.
What can you not flush down the toilet with a septic tank?
Too many solids flushed down your toilet will make your septic tank fill up very fast. You should not put these items into your commode:
- Cat litter.
- Coffee grounds.
- Cigarette butts.
- Dental floss.
- Disposable diapers.
- Sanitary napkins or tampons.
What products Cannot be used with a septic tank?
But to make it even clearer, here are the top ten household products to avoid when you have a septic tank.
- Fabric softeners.
- Latex products.
- Antibacterial soap.
- Drain cleaners.
- Dishwasher and laundry detergent.
What do you put in the toilet for a septic tank?
Yeast helps actively breaks down waste solids when added to your septic system. Flush ½ cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet, the first time. Add ¼ cup of instant yeast every 4 months, after the initial addition.
What will ruin a septic system?
Any paper products like tissues, paper towels, tampons, or sanitary products, even some heavier toilet paper, will clog your system if you flush enough of it. Wet wipes are another product that you should never flush into a septic system.
Does hair break down in a septic tank?
Why Hair is a Such a Problem It’s composed of tough strands of proteins similar to those in your fingernails, and it’s not easily broken down by bacteria. Even if it doesn’t for years in your septic tank, it’ll almost certainly last for longer than the 24-48 hours that it sits in your septic tank.
Can you use bleach with a septic tank?
You might consider bleach to be a great cleaner to use for your septic system. Unfortunately, that mindset is a dangerous one to have because it’s usually recommended to avoid using bleach in your septic system. The chemicals within bleach can kill the bacteria that your septic tank relies on.
Is mouthwash safe for septic tanks?
Fats and grease should never be put down the drain; they inhibit the bacteria and build up in the tank as scum. Septic tank additives are not recommended. Chemicals such as bleach, disinfectants and antiseptics, even mouthwash, can kill the bacteria and bring the digestive process to a halt.
Are toilet bowl tablets safe for septic systems?
Yes. 2000 Flushes Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner is safe for plumbing and septic systems when used as directed. 2000 Flushes tablets should only be used in a toilet that is flushed regularly (at least once a week).
What happens to poop in a septic tank?
The inlet pipe collects the water waste in the septic tank, long enough that the solid and liquid waste is separated from each other. Inside the tank bacteria from the wastewater breaks down the solid waste. These bacteria decompose the solid waste rapidly allowing the liquids to separate and drain away more easily.
Is baking soda and vinegar OK for septic tank?
Will baking soda hurt a septic system? Baking soda and other common household solutions such as vinegar are not harmful to your septic system. Harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia can disrupt the good bacteria in your septic tank and should not be used as part of a septic treatment.
Can you use Scalex with septic tank?
Hi Ivy sorry for late reply yes it’s 100% safe for septic system. Hillmark Scalex gets tough on lime, calcium and rust. This is particularly severe in hard water areas, which is where Scalex does its best work.
Can coffee grounds go in septic tank?
Septic systems are not intended to dispose of food waste, coffee grounds, grease, or fat, and, in fact, they will harm the septic tank. Try using a compost pile for non-meat food waste; it will help you avoid paying for unnecessary septic system repairs! Don’t use a kitchen garbage disposal.
How do you know if your septic is full?
Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:
- Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
- Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
- Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
- You Hear Gurgling Water.
- You Have A Sewage Backup.
- How often should you empty your septic tank?
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
Is Dawn dish soap safe for septic systems?
One of the best know is commercials for Dawn dish soap. The ability for the cleaner to disperse oil and grease is better for cleaning, as it helps to break it up. The reason these are bad for septic systems is because if you use too much they can leach out into the environment without being properly treated.
Household Products That Will Ruin Your Septic Tank!
The bottom line is that because septic tanks are not weight bearing structures, you cannot construct a patio or deck over them. One further reason why this is not a good idea is that you will require continual access. Construction of a paver patio over your tank may also be in violation of state and municipal planning rules — the last thing you want is to find yourself in trouble with the authorities – or literally in trouble if your patio furniture falls through and into your septic tank!
Top 10 Items To Avoid Putting In Your Septic System
Submitted byRobert Robillard on Home Repairs, Plumbing, and Electrical
Caring for Your Septic System
If you have a septic system in your home, you must exercise extreme caution when it comes to the household goods that you use. Septic systems rely on bacteria to break down wastes and sediments, but in order for these bacteria to live, they must be in a certain environment. If you use the incorrect type of detergent in your washing machine or the incorrect drain cleaner, you may wind up destroying the microorganisms in your septic system, leaving it inoperable. Overflows, obstructions, flooded drain fields, and even groundwater pollution can result as a result of this.
When you have unused prescriptions on hand, it might be tempting to flush them down the toilet to eliminate them. DON’T. Pharmaceuticals have the potential to disrupt the bacterial equilibrium in your septic system, resulting in septic system failure. They also contribute to the spread of “superbugs,” germs that are resistant to antibiotics and represent a threat to the health of the entire population. Improperly disposed of drugs damage groundwater, putting the environment and, more importantly, your own drinking water at risk of contamination.
In a countrywide survey conducted in 2000, pharmaceuticals were discovered in 80 percent of the rivers and streams examined.
To safely dispose of medications
Find out if there is a medication disposal program near you. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) organizes National Prescription Drug Take-Back activities, which involve setting up collecting locations in towns around the country to ensure that prescription medicines are properly disposed of. A pharmaceutical take-back program sponsored by your local police department may also be available. If you are unable to locate a pharmaceutical take-back program in your area, you should contact your local waste management authority to learn about drug disposal choices and requirements in your region.
After removing pills out of their original containers and combining them with a “undesirable item” (such as cat litter or old coffee grounds), the FDA suggests placing the combination in a Ziploc bag or a container with a lid and tossing the entire package in the trash.
Non-Septic Safe Toilet Paper
The only item that should be flushed into your septic tank is human waste, and that should be done using a septic safe toilet paper. A toilet paper that is biodegradable and dissolves fast is essential. On the packaging, look for the words “Septic Safe.” After evaluating 21 brands for softness, strength, and ripping ease in March of 2014, two brands stood out: White Cloud 3 Ply Ultra and Charmin Ultra Strong, however the Charmin did not disintegrate as rapidly as the White Cloud.
“Flush-able Wipes” and other Clogging Hazards
Flushable wipes, despite the fact that they are advertised as such, are anything but; they can take up to 10 minutes to break up and provide a significant clog danger.
It is possible that your laundry contributes a significant portion of the volume in your septic system. It is likely that the majority of the laundry detergents available at your local grocery shop include some form of environmental contamination. Look for the following:
Low Suds or Biodegradable:
Surfactants, which are foaming agents, are found in all soaps and detergents, and they are used to create foam. They work by lowering the surface tension of fluids, letting them to flow more freely between solids and so remove dirt from the surface of objects. Unfortunately, they have a negative impact on cell membranes and microorganisms, and they will harm the bacteria colony in your septic system. Fortunately, they decay rapidly and do not constitute a significant hazard to groundwater.
Low or no phosphorous and nitrogen:
We are fortunate in that nutrient pollutants such as phosphates and nitrates are now being phased out of the detergents we use since they encourage the growth of algae and weeds that choke out fish and wildlife in our ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers.
Chlorine bleach is extremely hazardous and should be avoided if possible, or used in small amounts when necessary. Unfortunately, chlorine bleach is included in a variety of cleaning and disinfecting products. Alternatives that are more effective include oxygen-based bleaches for laundry and white vinegar for disinfection.
Avoid using antibacterial hand soaps and any product that claims to be antibacterial. This is not only due to the obvious harm they could do to your bacterial colony, which is required for your septic system to function, but it is also due to the fact that they are now being linked to the development of antibiotic resistant “superbugs.” The good old-fashioned soap and water will suffice.
Automatic Toilet Cleaners
In addition to killing the germs in your toilet, the antibacterial compounds in automated toilet cleaners destroy the microorganisms in your septic tank as well. These toilet cleansers have the potential to result in a septic tank that is overflowing with blue water and a large amount of dead bacteria. A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar, used to clean the toilet, will provide similarly effective foamy results that are completely safe.
Dishwasher detergent is more likely than laundry detergent to include phosphates and surfactants, both of which are toxic to the microorganisms in your septic tank and should be avoided.
They can also move through your septic tank to the drain field, where they can eventually seep into the soil and leak into ground water, putting your family at danger of drinking polluted water. Look for and use detergent that is free of phosphates.
Drain cleaners should not be used by any homeowner, including those who do not have septic systems in their homes. Chemical drain cleaners not only have the potential to harm beneficial bacteria in your septic tank, but they may also eat away at your pipes! The caustic soda or lye employed in them is a potent oxidant and can result in serious burns if ingested or handled improperly. If your drains are blocked, it is far preferable to spend a little extra money to call a plumber to unclog them rather than using a chemical drain cleaner to clear them.
DIY Drain Cleaner:
- Add 1/2 cup baking soda to the drain and let it sit for a few minutes before adding 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with extremely hot water to the drain. Allow for a few minutes of resting. This will trigger a chemical reaction, resulting in a lot of foaming, therefore stop the drain or cover it with a towel. The combination will begin to operate immediately, breaking down any lipids into salt and inert gas. Boiling water should be used to flush
Bathing with some baby oil may provide you with silky-soft skin when you get out, but it’s not a good idea for your septic tank’s performance. Once the oil has been washed into your septic tank, it produces a layer of scum on top of the floating waste, preventing it from settling. As a result, the bacteria are unable to penetrate the oil, preventing them from decomposing the waste. Additionally, the oil might obstruct your drain field.
Don’t flush anything inorganic down the toilet such as paints, solvents, insecticides, oils, or anything else that might kill the bacteria.
Other UnsafeSeptic Items – Things not to flush include
- Disposable diapers
- Sanitary napkins or tampons
- Paper towels or bandages
- Dental floss
- Cigarette butts
- Disposable diapers
- Disposable diapers Coffee grinds
- Kitty litter
- And so on.
Author’s Bio:Steve McGonagle, proprietor of Septic Genie, assists homeowners in diagnosing and resolving their septic system problems. The Septic Genie method, which was first patented in 1995, has assisted hundreds of households in restoring their damaged septic systems while avoiding the expensive cost of “dig and replace.” is a website dedicated to providing trouble-free septic systems for life.
AVOID PAPER PROBLEMS IN YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM
Septic systems provide a safe means to dispose of waste for homeowners who live in locations without access to a municipal sewage system. If you have a septic system, you are surely aware that there are a variety of items that should not be flushed down the toilet. All of the following items: cat litter, dental floss, and antibacterial cleaning products can all cause harm to your septic system with continued use. The majority of homeowners believe that paper goods are safe to dispose of in a septic system when it comes to paper products.
- You may avoid the dangers of paper products in your septic system by not flushing typical clog-causing materials down your toilet or sink drains.
- Toilet paper is handled as a solid within your septic tank.
- Despite the fact that the beneficial bacteria in your septic tank can assist to minimize sludge over time, you should still have your tank pumped on a regular basis to avoid the sludge layer from growing too thick and blocking your drains.
- Using this method, you can simply lengthen the amount of time between pump-outs while also preventing huge bits of toilet paper from being lodged in your septic system.
- Instead, look for toilet paper that has been labeled as “septic-safe” or “recycled.” Toilet paper that is septic-safe has been thoroughly tested and proved to degrade swiftly.
- Additionally, recycled toilet paper has short strands that break apart quickly, reducing the likelihood of clogging.
- Many people consider facial tissues to be of the same caliber as toilet paper, and they are correct.
The unfortunate reality is that flushing face tissue into your septic system may put your system at danger.
In truth, facial tissue is engineered to be tough enough to withstand the moisture and pressure that is generated when you blow your nose without splitting or breaking apart.
The trapped tissue can capture other materials that are traveling through your drain pipes, resulting in a clog that totally limits the passage of waste and wastewater that is moving through your septic system and into the environment.
When a large amount of facial tissue is flushed down your drains, you may discover that solid waste is being pushed into your drainfield or that the baffles in your septic tank are not operating correctly.
It is critical that you use caution while flushing any form of paper product down your toilet or down your sink drain.
Contact Upstate Septic Tank, LLC if you suspect that you have flushed potentially hazardous papers into your septic system. We can assist you in removing the paper issues and restoring the performance and efficiency of your septic system.
9 Ways You’re Destroying Your Septic Tank
Unlike those of us who live on municipal sewer systems, those who live on septic tanks need pay closer attention to what happens when they flush the toilet or where all of the dishwater goes. If they do not, they may find themselves in trouble later on down the road. Listed here are the most typical mistakes that homeowners do when it comes to abusing their septic tank, in order to assist you in protecting your house from damage. These should be avoided at all costs, or else you will be forced to pay the price (literally).
1. Flushing Paper Products
Not everything that is made of paper is acceptable for flushing down the bathroom toilet. Paper goods such as tissues, paper towels, tampons or sanitary products, as well as certain thicker toilet paper, may clog your system if you flush an excessive amount of them down the toilet. Wet wipes are yet another product that should never be flushed down the toilet or into a septic system. Even the “flushable” wipes have been demonstrated to not break down as they should, resulting in serious consequences.
Keep the paper goods that you flush down the toilet as basic as possible.
Everything else should be disposed of properly.
2. Pouring Grease Down the Drain
You might believe that dumping grease down the kitchen sink or flushing it down the toilet is totally OK while the grease is still hot. This is just incorrect, people. Grease is one of the most detrimental substances to your septic system. After cooling, it congeals and clogs the pipes almost immediately. As with the arteries leading to the heart, fatty diets cause them to become blocked with fatty deposits. Flooding is caused by clogged drains, which results in a lot of money being spent. The most effective technique to deal with grease is to allow it to cool and harden before scraping it into a container or sealable bag that can be thrown away immediately after.
3. Using Too Much Drain Cleaner
It is intended to be used in drains, so if you pour a little extra down the sink, it will perform even better. That appears to be rational, doesn’t it? Wrong. When you pour large volumes of harsh chemicals or drain cleaner down your sink or toilet, you are causing irreparable damage to your pipes and plumbing system. Your plumbing will deteriorate first and foremost as a result of dangerous substances. For the second time, they eliminate the beneficial bacteria in your tank that digest and break down waste to keep your system operating properly.
“Too much of everything is bad,” as my grandmother used to say, and she was right.
4. Introducing Additives to Your System
Those advertisements for a septic tank enzyme supplement that you see on TV every now and then? It asserts that natural enzymes aid in the breakdown of waste, increasing the efficiency of your system and boosting its overall performance. Make no mistake: septic tank additives can potentially do more harm than help to your septic system. The enzymes break down materials too quickly, causing the smaller particles to float to the surface and then spill out into your drain field, clogging it up even worse.
The use of any additives or chemicals in your septic system is not recommended under any circumstances. What is the solution? Don’t do anything. Allow your tank to operate in its natural state, as it was intended.
5. Flushing Cat Litter
You might believe that because kitty litter includes waste, it is okay to flush it down the toilet. That is not true, and many individuals continue to flush it down the toilet, causing damage to their septic system. Cat litter can be extremely destructive to plumbing, and if it is flushed down the toilet, it can cause a severe blockage. Cat litter is often composed of clay, and pouring it through your pipes or, more critically, into your septic tank can cause difficulties since, unlike garbage, clay does not decompose.
When it comes to litter removal, it is preferable to keep it away from your plumbing and dispose of it in the garbage.
6. Neglecting to Pump Your Tank Regularly
If you don’t get your septic tank drained on a regular basis, you’re increasing the likelihood of it failing. This is one of the disadvantages of using a septic system rather than a municipal water connection. tanks have a limited capacity and must be emptied every 3 to 5 years, or even more frequently if you use your system frequently. If you don’t drain your tank eventually, it will back up and overflow into your home through your plumbing fittings, causing damage. Nobody wants to be responsible for that shambles!
7. Planting Trees and Shrubs on Your Drain Field
Many homeowners like the aesthetics of having trees in their yards. Additionally, having a lovely lawn with well-kept trees and bushes increases the curb appeal of a property, which is especially important for older or historic homes. In contrast, planting them right on top of your septic system (also known as the drain field) might result in serious and expensive difficulties down the line. The restricting roots of those towering trees and shrubs, once they begin to dip their roots deeper and deeper into the earth, have the potential to infiltrate a drain field.
When this occurs, they have the potential to grow directly in the path of your drain pipes, preventing wastewater flow.
8. Washer Lint Overload
Trees in the yard are popular among homeowners who like the aesthetics of them. Additionally, having a lovely lawn with well-kept trees and bushes increases the curb appeal of a property, which is especially important for older or historic structures. However, if you plant them right on top of your septic system (also known as the drain field), it might result in serious and costly difficulties down the line. With their restricting roots, those towering trees and bushes can infiltrate a drain field if their roots begin to descend further and deeper into the ground.
This causes them to grow directly in the path of your drain pipes, causing wastewater flow to be slowed or completely stopped. Remember where your drain field and septic tank are placed precisely, and avoid growing significant amounts of vegetation in that region as a result of this story’s moral.
9. Installing a Garbage Disposal
Unless you have a tank-based septic system in place, it is not suggested that you install a garbage disposal in your house. The food in your tank does not drop to the bottom, despite the fact that the bacteria are grinding it up into minute particles. As a result, solids pile up quicker than the bacteria can break them down. If you do have a disposal, exercise extreme caution while putting things down it. Non-food objects may find their way into your garbage disposal, even if you are extremely careful.
- One option for dealing with food waste is to compost it, which can then be used in your garden later on.
- Septic systems require special attention and maintenance to ensure that they continue to perform properly.
- If you take proper care of your septic tank, it will last you for years with little maintenance required.
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- Everything can be taught if you just give it the opportunity to do so.
Septic System Do’s and Don’ts – Septic Tank and Septic System Services, Repairs, Installations in New Jersey
Skip to the main content MenuClose Take note of these suggestions on what to do and what not to do if you have a septic system for waste management at your residence or place of business. A decent rule of thumb is: if you haven’t eaten it, wouldn’t eat it, or couldn’t eat it, don’t put anything in the septic system.
Septic System Do’s
- Spread out your laundry usage over the course of the week rather than doing many loads on one day. However, while it may be handy to dedicate a whole day to laundry, doing so would place a significant strain on your septic system. Consider connecting your laundry trash to a separate waste disposal system to save money (dry well or seepage pit). While it is not generally essential, it will minimize the pressure on the regular system and allow a mediocre system to survive. Laundry loads should be spaced out and only complete loads should be washed. In order to complete one load of laundry, 47 gallons of water are required. It makes a significant difference to your septic tank if you just do one load every day rather than seven loads on Saturday. In addition, front-loading washers consume less water than top-loading washers
- Liquid laundry detergent should be used. Clay is used as a ‘carrier’ in powdered laundry detergents to transport the detergent. This clay can expedite the building of sediments in the septic tank and perhaps fill the disposal area
- Reduce the number of home cleaners (bleach, strong cleansers, and similar harmful compounds)
- And reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticides used. Home sewage treatment systems are not adversely affected by the presence of detergents, food waste, laundry waste, and other household chemicals in reasonable proportions. Don’t forget to keep a permanent record of where the most important sections of your septic system are situated in case you need to do future maintenance (such as septic pumping service or field repairs)
- Schedule septic pumping service on a regular basis. Every two to three years, or if the total depth of sludge and scum surpasses one-third of the liquid level of the tank, the contents of the septic tank should be drained out. It is possible that the sediments will be transferred into the absorption field, or leach field as it is more frequently known, if the tank does not receive regular cleaning. A rapid blockage ensues, which is followed by a premature failure, and eventually the leach field must be replaced. In comparison to rebuilding your leach field, pumping your septic tank is less costly. Instead of using the inspection ports located above the inlet and exit baffles, insist on having your septic tank cleaned through the manhole in the center of the top of your septic tank. Don’t forget to keep track of your septic pumping service and septic system maintenance. When at all feasible, conserve water by using water-saving gadgets. Reduced flush toilets and shower heads are readily available on the market. Install water fixtures that consume little water. Showerheads (2.5 gallons per minute), toilets (1.6 gallons), dishwashers (5.3 gallons), and washing machines are all examples of high-volume water users (14 gallons). A family of four may save 20,000 gallons of water per year by putting fixtures such as these in their home. Inspect any pumps, siphons, or other moving elements in your system on a regular basis
- And Trees with substantial root systems that are developing near the leach field should be removed or prevented from growing there. Planting trees around your leach field is not recommended. Branches and roots from trees in close proximity to the absorption lines may clog the system. Check your interceptor drain on a regular basis to verify that it is free of obstructions
- And Run water routinely down drains that are rarely used, such as sinks, tubs, showers, and other similar fixtures, to prevent harmful gases from building up and producing aromas within
- All drainage from the roof, cellar, and footings, as well as surface water, must be excluded from the drainage system. It is permissible to discharge drainage water directly to the ground surface without treatment. Check to see that it is draining away from your sewage treatment facility. There should be no drainage of roof downspouts into the leach field. When water softeners are used, the backwash contains salt, which might harm your leach field. In order to protect your well and precious plants, you should discharge this waste into a separate system or to the ground surface. Make sure that swimming pools (above-ground or in-ground) are kept away from the leach field.
Septic System Don’ts
- Garbage disposals should be avoided. In addition to increasing the accumulation of solids in the septic tank, garbage grinders also increase solids entering the leach fields and pits, which are both detrimental to the environment. Their downsides exceed the convenience they give, and they are thus not suggested for houses that have their own sewage treatment systems in place. If septic tanks are utilized, the capacity of the tank should be raised, or the discharge should be routed via a separate tank first, known as a garbage tank. The system should discharge into the septic tank or into a separate leaching system rather than straight into the current leaching system once it has been installed. For those who have a garbage disposal, make sure to pump it more frequently– or, better yet, compost your kitchen wastes altogether. Disposals result in the accumulation of fats, particularly from meat and bones, as well as insoluble vegetable particles. Here are a few items (this is not an exhaustive list) that should never be dumped into a septic tank or leach field:
- Cigarette butts, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, handi-wipes, pop-off toilet wand scrubbers, garbage, condoms, hair, bandages, and so forth
- Ragstrings, coffee grounds, paper towels, anti-bacterial soaps – biodegradable soaps only
- No “biocompatible soaps”
- Ragstrings, coffee grounds, paper towels Dead fish or small animals
- Rubber, plastic, or metallic things
- Hard toilet paper – soft toilet paper is preferable for the tank.
- Excessive use of chlorine and chemicals should be avoided – (1 part chlorine to 5 parts water makes an effective bacteria cleaning spray)
- Allowing water conditioning backwashes or outflow from water softeners, purifiers, sanitizers, or conditioners is not recommended. Dehumidifiers and air conditioners release moisture
- Discharges from hot pools and jacuzzis Water from leaking devices, such as toilets that are difficult to detect. Make a habit of color testing the toilet on a regular basis to look for septic system issues. Keep dirt and inert materials to a minimum. Clothes, fruits, and vegetables that have been soiled should be dusted off before washing. Even diluted, do not dispose of chemicals from x-ray equipment since they will condense and harm the subsurface environment, which is against the law. Avoid using hair conditioners that include heavy oils – if you do, please let us know so that we may make adjustments to compensate with more or alternative bacteria (or avoid using them totally if they are not biodegradable). Keep grease from the kitchen OUT of the septic system. It is difficult to break down and might cause a blockage in your drain field. In order to dissolve these oils, there are currently no known solvents that are safe for use in groundwater. Chemical additions for septic tanks are not advised. Household systems cannot function properly if additives are used. In addition, excessive use of these chemicals may cause the waste from your toilet to be released into your septic tank, causing your system to fail prematurely. It is possible that some additives will damage your groundwater. In order for your septic system to function properly, no extra additives are required. Many of those that market their services as “solid waste removal” really deliver on their promises. During the solids removal process, the solids are transported to a disposal field. When the solids reach the disposal area, they shut up the space and cause the system to malfunction. Furthermore, although it is not harmful, it is not required to “seed” a new system with yeast or other organisms. Even routinely disposed of human waste includes enough bacteria to populate the septic tank, and other microorganisms are already in the soil and stones of the disposal region
What should not go in a septic tank?
If you live or operate a company in a remote or rural region without access to a modern sewer network, the likelihood is that your house or business is equipped with an aseptic tank system. Water septic tanks are an excellent way to dispose of wastewater on your property, since they use a combination of basic technology and biological processes found in nature to do the job. However, extreme caution must be exercised in determining which items, garbage, and chemicals are permitted to be flushed down the different drains on your premises.
If the improper materials and liquids are flushed down the toilet, they can cause a septic system to malfunction, necessitating the arrival of a professional to your home to undertake very expensive repairs and cleaning.
The purpose of septic tanks will be discussed in detail, as well as what may be safely placed in them and what should not be placed in them, in this tutorial.
Hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of why you should consider installing a septic system, as well as whether or not one is a suitable fit for your property.
What Are Septic Tanks Used For?
Homeowners and business owners who do not have access to a centralized sewer system might opt for septic tanks as an alternate method. Their most common placement is a subterranean area directly outside the main structure, in a region where human activity generates the need for wastewater to be flushed down a sewer. This wastewater can come from a variety of different sources, including the kitchen sink, dishwasher, bathtub, laundry room, and the toilet seat. The majority of the time, this effluent is more than 99 percent liquid.
The wastewater is cleansed inside the tank and then disseminated deep into the surrounding soil through a network of pipelines, where nature can naturally break down the organic pollutants in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.
How Do Septic Tanks Work?
Briefly stated, a septic system is composed of two major components: a holding tank and a soil absorption area. All of the flushed water from your house, school, or place of business finally finds its way into a single final pipe that empties straight into the septic tank. This end pipe has a downward sloping surface and is powered entirely by gravity. In most cases, an aseptic tank is a waterproof receiving vessel that is buried beneath the surface of your land. It is often built of concrete or specialized plastic.
- When left to its own devices, the organic matter in this runoff water will begin to split into three distinct components inside the tank’s internal environment.
- Solids, often known as sludge, will begin to accumulate at the bottom of the tank.
- Over time, naturally occurring bacteria already present in the tank will begin to degrade the biodegradable material and prepare it for future distribution by breaking down the substance.
- However, it is the bulk of the effluent water that is directed out of the septic tank and onto the neighboring drain field after that.
It is really the microbes in the surrounding ground that begin to filter and destroy the germs in this discharge, thereby neutralizing any lingering foul odours and toxicity. It is both cost-effective and ecologically friendly.
What Should Go in Septic Tanks?
A few substances can be accepted and broken down within the septic tank system, but the majority of things cannot. Your best practices are mentioned in the next section:
- Whenever feasible, use environmentally friendly and biodegradable household cleaning products. Foodstuffs, fruits, and vegetables that are rotten or perished can be disposed of through the garbage disposal. Take cautious not to overdo your waste disposal, on the other hand. If you have organic leftovers and potato peelings, a compost bin is a lot better option than throwing them away in the trash. Create the practice of scraping dirty plates into the trash and putting a food catcher in your kitchen sink to gather food scraps. Utilize only toilet paper that is thin and specially made for use with septic tank systems. Make an effort to install water-saving showerheads, dishwashers, and washing machines. Showers should be kept short and water use should be kept to a minimum, since this might place an unnecessary pressure on your septic system. When it comes down to it only water, toilet tissue, and human excrement should ever be flushed down your toilet. Anything that cannot be decomposed naturally is never appropriate and will only give you a lot of trouble down the line
- This includes plastics.
What Shouldn’t Go in Them? (And Why?)
When moving from a region that is served by a centralized sewer system, a house or property owner will need to make significant adjustments to their mentality and waste disposal practices. When you’re first starting out, it might be difficult to adjust to the changes, but after a while you’ll realize that it’s actually no more difficult than sorting your recycling. The most important thing to understand is that your septic tank is not a garbage disposal system. Do not flush anything that is not biodegradable down the toilet or down the drain.
Septic tanks may handle a significant amount of the regular effluent that would normally be flushed away in a contemporary city, but there are few exceptions that should be avoided, as detailed below:
- Surprisingly, coffee grounds are a major source of contamination that goes unnoticed. In spite of the fact that they are processed via a waste disposal unit, coffee grounds degrade too slowly and might cause obstructions in your plumbing system. Toilet paper, cigarette butts, cat litter, kitchen towels, tampons, prophylactics, diapers, and anything else that is thick or made of plastic should never be flushed down a toilet
- Toilet bowl cleansers containing acidic chemicals or bleach are prohibited. These chemicals have the potential to destroy beneficial microorganisms deep within the septic tank. Instead, make an effort to utilize organic, ecologically friendly cleansers. Any type of hazardous chemicals (for example, paint thinner, gasoline, solvents, weed killers, insecticides, and so on) should be separated and transported to authorized waste disposal facilities in your region. It is never a good idea to flush them down the toilet
- Grease, fats, and drippings are also exceedingly harmful. Bacon grease and other frying oils should be collected and disposed of in the same manner as regular garbage. Additionally, installing a grease trap between your kitchen sink and your septic tank is a smart idea as well. These oils lead to the formation of a scum layer within the tank, which ultimately pollutes the soil drainage region surrounding it. The bacteria that have been spread into contaminated soil are unable to be organically processed by the soil
- Medications are also an issue. Antibiotics and antibacterials have the potential to disrupt the delicate community of microorganisms that digest your organic discharge and pollute the environment. Even human waste from persons who are taking prescription medications might have an impact on the effectiveness of your septic system. All of your unused drugs should be returned to your local pharmacy.
Looking After Your Septic Tank
As you may have known by now, septic systems are basic yet innovative machines that handle wastewater from your property when there is no local sewer connection available. They remove oils and particles from liquids, and they discharge the effluent water into the soil surrounding your home or business property. Organic sewage treatment is completed by naturally existing microorganisms present in the septic tank and the surrounding soil, which consume the most offensive odors and harmful germs, finishing the process organically.
The property owner must carefully regulate what is flushed down their bathrooms, sinks, and drains in order to preserve this delicate equilibrium.
Despite the fact that the above instructions should avoid any unintended incidents, you will still want a septic tank specialist to come to your property and do an inspection and cleaning once every 3-5 years, depending on the size of your septic tank.
Get Your Free Quote Today
OMDI has more than two decades of expertise in the construction, drainage, and maintenance of septic tank systems. Our subject matter specialists are available to answer any inquiries you may have at any time. We will be delighted to discuss your septic tank requirements in detail with you and to offer you with a free, no-obligation quotation. For more information about putting a septic tank on your property, septic tank maintenance, or if you feel there is an issue with your system, call OMDI now.
7 Things You Should Never Flush If You Have a Septic System
Because something fits down your drain, is cut up by your trash disposal, or vanishes down your toilet when you flush it does not always imply that it belongs there. A septic system is extremely important to consider in this situation. If you are careless with the information you put through to your tank, it might come back to bother you later on. In the Phoenix area, Audrey Monell, president of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, says, “One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is putting things into their septic system that can cause clogs, damage pipes, and change the balance of the good bacteria that is needed to keep the system running smoothly.” She also happens to be the owner of a septic tank.
Find out what should never be dumped or unintentionally flushed into your septic system, and what you should do if it has already happened.
1. Nonbiodegradable items
One of the most crucial things to avoid putting into a septic system is the use of household chemicals. Anything that is not biodegradable should be avoided. Among the items included are anything from cigarette butts to feminine hygiene products and disposable diapers, according to Monell. According to the experts, just because something may be flushed down the toilet does not imply it should. There is no easy way to divide down these items. For example, throwaway diapers alone take hundreds of years to decompose.
Replace your current items with biodegradable alternatives, or dump what you already have in the garbage.
Food waste will block your septic system and cause it to malfunction. (PhotographyFirm/iStock) There’s no difference between pouring vegan sausage and greens down your garbage disposal and throwing bacon grease and Funyuns down your garbage disposal. When you put any type of food into a septic tank, it might lead to a buildup in your pipes, according to Monell. (This is similar to how cholesterol accumulates in your arteries.) Even the smallest amount of coffee grinds might cause issues. Once these objects begin to degrade, they combine to produce a viscous substance known as sludge, which causes backups, according to Monell.
3. Drain cleaner
In addition to removing sticky hair and other unidentified junk that has clogged your shower or sink drain, the strong chemicals in drain cleaners can cause damage to your septic system in numerous ways, including causing it to fail. In the first place, they can create corrosion in your pipes and tank, according to Monell. They’ll also eliminate the “good” bacteria that’s necessary for decomposition of the waste that’s in your tank. It’s best to use natural products to clear up your drains, but be sure they are septic-safe before you start cleaning.
4. Too much water
As Monell argues, you may believe that a large amount of water would help to keep things flowing through your system, but in reality, you run the danger of your tank filling up too rapidly. As a result, your system will be unable to operate correctly. Wastewater that is drained from the tank and onto the drain field and surrounding land too rapidly may include far more sludge (read: human waste) and scum than it should. You’re probably already familiar with the standard water-saving recommendations, but we’ll go over them again: Preferably, shorten your showers, and avoid running your washer and dishwasher until they’re completely filled.
It is recommended that you get a toilet lock for your kid. (SusanneB/iStock) Almost any parent of a toddler is familiar with the phenomenon of toddlers becoming preoccupied with flushing stuff down the toilet—in this case, toys—as John Parry, owner of South Fork Septic in Southampton, New York, explains.
As Parry explains, “this may be quite dangerous to your septic system since toys can become lodged in a pipe and obstruct the waste flow, causing everything to back up.” If you want to be extra cautious, a toilet seat lock can be a good idea.
6. Paper towels
According to Parry, “even though these objects appear to be flushable, they do not decompose in the septic system.” Upon entering your tank, they attach to the concrete and make it extremely difficult for the system to function correctly. Furthermore, if a problem is discovered, it is difficult for the septic business to pump out the system. According to Parry, soggy residues of paper towels might cause the pump to clog, resulting in expensive repairs.
7. Paint or paint thinner
“These materials may appear to be safe since they are liquid, but they do not properly decompose in a septic system,” Parry explains. And, as with drain cleaning, “they’ll destroy any beneficial bacteria in the system, let alone have the potential to seep into water bodies.” Over half of the population of the United States relies on groundwater for drinking water, yet it is readily contaminated by things like a few additional cans of paint or paint thinner or even a few drops of paint thinner.
Alternatively, locate a hazardous waste disposal facility in your area.
If it’s too late
After all, no one is flawless. If you’ve already mistakenly flushed one of the items listed above, don’t be too concerned as long as it was a one-time occurrence. One errant paper towel or Hatchimals toy is unlikely to cause a complete breakdown of your septic system. However, if you have a history of dumping prohibited substances into your system, Parry recommends having it repaired in order to avoid a backup or overflow situation. “If these materials are allowed to remain in the tank for an extended period of time, they harden and become impossible to pump out.”
How to Care for Your Septic System
Septic system maintenance is neither difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be done frequently. The maintenance of a vehicle is comprised of four major components:
- It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on septic system maintenance because it is not difficult. There are four main components to upkeep:
Inspect and Pump Frequently
Septic system maintenance is not difficult or expensive, and it does not have to be intricate. Upkeep is comprised of four essential components:
- The size of the household
- The total amount of wastewater produced
- The amount of solids present in wastewater
- The size of the septic tank
Service provider coming? Here is what you need to know.
When you contact a septic service provider, he or she will inspect your septic tank for leaks as well as the scum and sludge layers that have built up over time. Maintain detailed records of any maintenance work conducted on your septic system. Because of the T-shaped outlet on the side of your tank, sludge and scum will not be able to escape from the tank and travel to the drainfield region. A pumping is required when the bottom of the scum layer or the top of the sludge layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the bottom of the outlet.
In the service report for your system, the service provider should mention the completion of repairs as well as the condition of the tank.
If additional repairs are recommended, contact a repair professional as soon as possible. An online septic finder from the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) makes it simple to identify service specialists in your region.
Use Water Efficiently
In a normal single-family house, the average indoor water consumption is about 70 gallons per person, per day, on average. A single leaking or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, depending on the situation. The septic system is responsible for disposing of all of the water that a residence sends down its pipes. The more water that is conserved in a household, the less water that enters the sewage system. A septic system that is operated efficiently will operate more efficiently and will have a lower chance of failure.
- Toilets with a high level of efficiency. The usage of toilets accounts for 25 to 30% of total home water use. Many older homes have toilets with reservoirs that hold 3.5 to 5 gallons of water, but contemporary, high-efficiency toilets consume 1.6 gallons or less of water for each flush. Changing out your old toilets for high-efficiency versions is a simple approach to lessen the amount of household water that gets into your septic system. Aerators for faucets and high-efficiency showerheads are also available. Reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system by using faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and shower flow restriction devices. Machines for washing clothes. Water and energy are wasted when little loads of laundry are washed on the large-load cycle of your washing machine. By selecting the appropriate load size, you may limit the amount of water wasted. If you are unable to specify a load size, only complete loads of washing should be performed. Washing machine use should be spread throughout the week if at all possible. Doing all of your household laundry in one day may appear to be a time-saving strategy
- Nevertheless, it can cause damage to your septic system by denying your septic tank adequate time to handle waste and may even cause your drainfield to overflow. Machines that have earned theENERGY STARlabel consume 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than ordinary ones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy and water bills.
Properly Dispose of Waste
Everything that goes down your drains, whether it’s flushed down the toilet, ground up in the trash disposal, or poured down the sink, shower, or bath, ends up in your septic system, which is where it belongs. What you flush down the toilet has an impact on how effectively your septic system functions.
Toilets aren’t trash cans!
Your septic system is not a garbage disposal system. A simple rule of thumb is to never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Never flush a toilet:
- Cooking grease or oil
- Wipes that are not flushable, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
- Photographic solutions
- Feminine hygiene items Condoms
- Medical supplies such as dental floss and disposable diapers, cigarette butts and coffee grounds, cat litter and paper towels, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals such as gasoline and oil, insecticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners
Toilet Paper Needs to Be Flushed! Check out this video, which demonstrates why the only item you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper rolls.
Think at the sink!
Your septic system is made up of a collection of living organisms that digest and treat the waste generated by your household. Pouring pollutants down your drain can kill these organisms and cause damage to your septic system as well as other things. Whether you’re at the kitchen sink, the bathtub, or the utility sink, remember the following:
- If you have a clogged drain, avoid using chemical drain openers. To prevent this from happening, use hot water or a drain snake
- Never dump cooking oil or grease down the sink or toilet. It is never a good idea to flush oil-based paints, solvents, or huge quantities of harmful cleansers down the toilet. Even latex paint waste should be kept to a bare minimum. Disposal of rubbish should be avoided or limited to a minimum. Fats, grease, and particles will be considerably reduced in your septic tank, reducing the likelihood of your drainfield being clogged.
Own a recreational vehicle (RV), boat or mobile home?
If you have ever spent any time in an RV or boat, you are undoubtedly familiar with the issue of aromas emanating from sewage holding tanks.
- The National Small Flows Clearinghouse’s Septic System Care hotline, which may be reached toll-free at 800-624-8301, has a factsheet on safe wastewater disposal for RV, boat, and mobile home owners and operators.
Maintain Your Drainfield
It is critical that you maintain the integrity of your drainfield, which is a component of your septic system that filters impurities from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank once it has been installed. Here are some things you should do to keep it in good condition:
- Parking: Do not park or drive on your drainfield at any time. Plan your tree plantings so that their roots do not grow into your drainfield or septic system. An experienced septic service provider can recommend the appropriate distance for your septic tank and surrounding landscaping, based on your specific situation. Locating Your Drainfield: Keep any roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainfall drainage systems away from the drainfield area. Excess water causes the wastewater treatment process to slow down or halt completely.