Care For Your Septic System

Caring for Your Septic System
By Amanda Furmage

Last week, we discussed how damaged septic systems can result in an unwanted mess. Not only can septic system failure threaten public health, the environment, and property value, but it can also be extremely expensive. In fact, installation of a new septic system can cost thousands of dollars.

The experts at Southern Water and Soil are always available to thoroughly inspect your entire septic system before it becomes a massive problem. Inspections should take place every three to five years. In the meantime, care for your wastewater system by following these simple tips:

Hazardous Household Chemicals
Your septic system contains the bacteria needed to digest and treat waste. Pouring hazardous household chemicals down the drain kills these beneficial organisms. Instead, take the following chemicals to an area hazardous waste collection center for disposal:
Oil-based paints
Paint thinners
Wood stains
Gasoline
Motor Oil
Pesticides
Antifreeze
In addition, use bleach, disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, and drain cleaning gels sparingly. Try to purchase cleaners that are nontoxic and septic safe.

Solid Waste
In addition to chemicals, non-degradable solid waste can disrupt your septic system by increasing the scum and sludge layers within the tank. Never use your toilet to dispose of cat litter, diapers, feminine hygiene products, facial tissues, coffee grounds, cigarette butts and filters, cotton swabs, dental floss, plastic products, and other items that could clog your system.

Garbage disposals double the solid layers within your septic tank. In fact, experts suggest homeowners suspend or lower the use of garbage disposals to reduce the amount of grease and waste that can clog the system.

Commercial Additives
Beware of commercial septic tank additives as they can potentially destroy your system, or are useless at best. Instead, have Southern Water and Soil introduce their trusted bacteria and enzyme additive to your tank during pumping and inspection. 
Outdoor Care
Maintain the external structure of your septic system by planting only grass above and near the tank and drainfield to minimize soil erosion. Trees and shrubs should be at least 100 feet away from any septic system component to discourage damage from roots.

Avoid further damage by not driving over the septic system as the weight from your vehicle can compress the surrounding soil.

Finally, direct all outdoor drainage systems away from the septic system drainfield to avoid excessive flooding.

Household Water Use
If possible, replace old household appliances and plumbing fixtures such as washing machines, dishwashers, and toilets to reduce water use. High-efficiency toilets use 1.6 gallons of water less per flush than older fixtures, while high-efficiency washing machines use up to 35 percent less energy and 50 percent less water.

If you cannot afford new appliances, reduce your water use by placing aerators on faucets, flow reducers on shower heads, and displacers on toilets. Moreover, don’t run the dishwasher unless full, and choose the proper load size on your washing machine. Also, instead of doing load after load of laundry in one day, spread the work out over the week to allow your septic tank enough time to adequately treat wastewater.

For more helpful tips on caring for your septic system, contact Southern Water and Soil. They are always ready to help and have the experience and knowledge necessary to answer all your wastewater-related questions.