Septic systems rely on a delicate balance to function properly. A clog, loss of bacteria or a fast buildup of solid waste in the tank could all lead to a system breakdown that could be inconvenient as well as costly to repair. As a homeowner, one of the best ways that you can care for your septic tank is to avoid flushing problematic items down into your septic system. Knowing which items not to flush and why they shouldn't be flushed can help you care for your tank.
Antibacterial Soaps and Cleaning Products
As a septic tank owner, you probably already know that solid waste inside your septic tank settles to the bottom where it builds slowly over time. Bacteria inside the tank breaks down that solid waste, turning it into liquid refuse that gets flushed out of the tank into the drain field. Without that bacteria, the solid waste in your tank would build up much more quickly, requiring you to pump the tank more frequently.
Flushing antibacterial soaps and cleaning products like bleach into your septic tank can slow down the bacterial action in the tank, resulting in a dysfunctional tank and a more frequent cleaning schedule. Avoid flushing cleaning products or even using too many cleaning products when cleaning your home. Put more effort into scrubbing and use fewer bleach and antibacterial products in your regular cleaning efforts.
Antibiotics are just as bad as cleaning products because they kill the bacteria that your septic tank relies upon to function. If you're not sure what to do with your leftover antibiotics after you've finished a course of treatment, talk to your doctor. He or she can give you advice that can help you dispose of your medicines in a way that is safe for your tank and the environment.
There are a number of products that are designated as "flushable," but which are not safe for septic systems. Diapers, disposable wipes, kitty litter and tampons are all examples of these products. These items are tough, absorbent and get larger when submerged in water. These flushable products will not biodegrade quickly enough to be safe for a septic tank.
In general, it's not safe to assume that a product can be flushed down the toilet simply because the box or manufacturer's instructions designate it as such. To find out for sure if a product is safe to flush into your septic system, contact your septic tank cleaning and maintenance company.
Grease can clog the elements of your septic tank. While some grease is to be expected to end up in your plumbing and septic system over time, the best way to prevent grease from clogging your tank is to keep the amount of grease that gets flushed down your pipes to a minimum. To do this, allow cooking grease to cool in the skillet after it's used, then dump it into a bag and throw it away.
Food From a Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals are designed to chop up food finely and then flush it down the drain with the waste water. This is safe for homes connected to sewer systems, but for homes with septic tanks this fast buildup of food in the bottom of the tank can lead to more frequent pumping or the occasional drain field clog. To avoid problems, install a garbage disposal unit that is designed to be septic tank safe, or avoid using a garbage disposal altogether.
Consult With Your Septic Tank Pumping Company
Your septic tank pumping company can give you more suggestions that can help you take care of your septic system. At Pete's Outflow, we answer questions that can help our customers take care of their septic tanks. To get answers to all of your septic tank-related questions, give us a call at 831-475-0959.