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Septic Academy

Tips, Tools, & Materials

 

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Tips, Tools, & Materials

Avoid Common Problems

 

It is extremely important to monitor the substances washed down the drain and into your septic system. The following list of items should be avoided at all costs:  

 

Cooking Oils & Grease can accumulate too heavily on the top layer of the tank, blocking the inlet and outlet baffles, and can form a thick coating throughout the plumbing, causing unwanted clogging.  

 

Non-Biodegradable Products like cotton swabs, q-tips, dental floss, paper towels, cigarette butts, cat litter, feminine hygiene products, contraceptives, baby wipes, and diapers should be disposed of elsewhere or the system will rapidly become clogged.  

 

Garbage Disposals allow too much undigested food solids to enter the system, lengthening  the decomposition process and causing overload.  

 

Water Softeners add salt to water high in calcium, which in turn, destroys needed bacteria.

 

Chemicals & Cleaning Solvents containing pesticides, herbicides, bleach, disinfectants, acids, anti-septics, paint, medications, anti-biotics, anti-bacterials, waxes or polish, oil, and other non-water soluble, toxins kill the bacteria needed to create the proper environment for decomposition.

 

TIP Drains allowing wastewater to enter the system should be equipped with strainers and other filtration devices to reduce the amount of food particles, hair, lint, and other inorganic, solid materials that do not decompose or which may clog your septic system.

 

TIP Start a compost pile to discard unwanted food rather than using a garbage disposal.

 

TIP Use minimal amounts of toilet paper.

 

Overloading

The total amount of water and the pattern of water use affects how the septic system works. For complete and uniform treatment of wastes, the system needs time to work. Each time wastewater enters the septic tank, an equal amount of wastewater leaves the tank and flows to the absorption area. Sudden or large volumes of water entering the system in a short period of time may agitate and re-suspend sludge and scum into the liquid contents. If this happens, suspended solids can be carried into the absorption area, clogging soil pores and diminishing the soil’s ability to accept water.

 

TIP Rent a portable toilet or have your septic tank pumped a few days before hosting a large party to prevent likely overload.

 

Conserving Water Flow

Excessive water use puts an unnecessary load on the septic system. Allowing faucets to drip, fixtures to leak, and using running water to wash and rinse dishes, shave, and brush teeth are wasteful water habits. In most households, toilet flushing is the largest user of water, followed by bathing, and laundry.  

 

TIP Install a low-flow toilet which uses only 1½ gallons of water per flush, as opposed to the 6 gallons per flush of a standard model.

 

TIP Repair leaky faucets and running toilets immediately.

 

TIP Flush toilets less often.

 

TIP Take a shower which, in 10 minutes, will use an average of 25 gallons of water, rather than a bath, which uses twice as much.

 

TIP Install low-flow, hand held shower heads with pause control.

 

TIP Wash only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.

 

TIP Reduce use of cleaning solvents by doing more scrubbing with less cleanser.

 

TIP Shut off water while shaving, brushing teeth, or rinsing dishes.

 

TIP Use liquid detergent, with less than 5% phosphate, in the dishwasher and washing machine.

 

TIP Purchase a front-loading washing machine, which uses approximately 25 gallons of water per load, as opposed to the 40-60 gallons per load of a top-loading model.

 

TIP Distribute wash loads evenly throughout the week to avoid overloading the system with large volumes of water.

 

TIP Insulate your water pipes to avoid wasting water while waiting for a suitable temperature.

 

TIP Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods.