Everything you pour down the drain, flush down the toilet or put in your washing machine has the potential to affect the lifespan of your septic system. Toilet bowl cleaners and bleach/chlorine based cleaners should be avoided or minimized. Look for chlorine bleach or chemical sodium hypochlorite on product labels. Using these products could result in your septic tank backing up, creating costly repairs, contaminating your drinking water, odors and much more.
Standard household bleach and cleaning chemicals may be considered the most useful household products because of their countless uses. They are commonly used to whiten surfaces, remove stains, kill germs and sanitize. But what happens when bleach gets into your septic system?
What Does Bleach Do to the Septic System?
Your septic system contains different kinds of bacteria throughout the system that treats the water waste from your home. When household chemicals get introduced to your septic tank, it kills the live bacteria inside that is needed to break down and treat the waste properly. Once the chemical or bleach kills the bacteria, it causes “die-off” and it builds up in the septic tank with nowhere to go. To make room, grease, oils and other solids are then pushed out of the tank and into the drain field resulting in costly repairs. Signs that your drain field may be failing are slow drainage, slow flushing and water on the grass near the drain field.
Instead of using bleach or chlorine-based cleaners, we suggest using all natural bio-degradable cleaning products as well as low-sudsing, low phosphate and bio-degradable detergents.
Septic System Do’s:
- Do pump your septic system every one to two years to remove solids and sludge.
- Do use high-quality single-ply toilet paper that breaks down quickly.
- Do conserve water. Your septic tank can only hold so much liquid. Spread laundry use over the week rather than all in one day.
- Do remove and prevent trees from growing near the leach field.
- Do run water regularly in seldom used drains to keep gasses from building up.
Septic System Don’ts:
- Don’t use toilet tank tablets that contain antibacterial agents.
- Don’t use soap and detergents in high quantities.
- Don’t flush anything that doesn’t decompose. For example, paper towels, sanitary napkins, ‘flushable’ wipes and cigarette butts.
- Don’t use a garbage disposal. The food particles and grease can clog and disrupt the bacteria in the tank.
- Don’t put solvents, paints and pesticides down the drain system.
- Don’t drive or park over your septic system. The weight of the vehicle can break pipes or damage the tank.