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Septic homeowners need to be careful about what they flush down their toilets because certain substances can cause a lot of damage to their waste systems. Unfortunately, many people are unsure what’s safe to flush down the toilet or shower drain and what could cause damage to the plumbing. This is a particular problem for homeowners in rural areas that rely on septic tanks.
It’s a common misconception that you can flush anything into your septic tank. While some substances are perfectly harmless and can even be beneficial, other things can pose serious dangers to your septic tank system. This article will help you determine what is and isn’t safe so you can stay on top of septic maintenance.
- Drain cleaners – Unclogging your drain is no trifling matter, but using these types of cleaners may damage your septic tank and the plumbing. They can upset the chemical balance in the septic tank and there is a danger that they can leak out into the groundwater.
- Ammonia and bleach – Bleach can be used to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces safely. However if accidentally poured down the drain it will kill the bacteria that breaks down waste. This could cause larger pieces of solid waste to build up and form a blockage. A dilute septic bleach should be fine in small quantities, but lots of concentrated bleach will cause damage.
- Synthetic/concentrated laundry detergents – Laundry detergents use surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate to lift dirt from clothes. However, synthetic sulfates can disrupt the pH balance in your septic tank and cause damage.
- Regular soap – Household soap is completely safe for your septic tank. It is also biodegradable, so it won’t harm the environment or contribute to groundwater pollution.
- Organic laundry detergent – Organic laundry detergent which doesn’t include synthetic surfactants is safe for septic tanks.
- ‘Septic safe’ drain cleaners – In recent years there has been an increase in the number of septic safe cleaners on the market. These are all-natural and will not damage your septic system.
- Safer cleaners – Natural cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and Borax are all excellent alternatives to unsafe household cleaners.
- Antibacterial chemicals – Septic tanks rely on bacteria to break down waste. So, always avoid putting antibacterial chemicals of any kind into your septic tank.
- Medication – Never flush medication down the toilet or pour it into your septic tank. They can harm people and animals. In addition, they don’t break down in wastewater systems, so they have a tendency to accumulate in groundwater supplies.
- Solvents and weed killers – Strong solvents and weed killers also contain ingredients that kill useful bacteria.
As a general rule, you should avoid putting chemicals into your septic tank. If you have hazardous chemicals that need to be disposed of, it’s important to call a professional waste disposal service or speak to your local authority.
- Kitty litter – The sand crystals in kitty litter act as an abrasive, so it will wear away the plumbing. It can also stick to solid waste and cause blockages.
- Cooking grease – Solidified cooking grease will not break down during the wastewater treatment process and can form into clumps that damage your septic tank.
- Water softeners – The sodium in water softeners has been shown to degrade concrete septic tanks.
- Non-absorbent paper products – Paper products like toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues are designed to break down quickly. This makes them safe for septic tanks.
- Organic waste – Any kind of organic waste is safe for septic tanks, provided it doesn’t have any absorbent or synthetic substances attached to it.
Know Your Septic Tank
Septic tanks are not designed to take anything that you flush down the toilet. Although many substances are safe, there are plenty of things that can cause damage. If you are not vigilant about what you put into your septic tank, you will end up spending a lot of money on septic emptying and repairs. The best way to keep your septic tank in good condition is to be careful about what you flush down the toilet and schedule regular cleaning and maintenance.
Keep your septic system healthy with Economy Septic!
Your septic system contains living, breathing components can that certain common household cleaners and chemical can injure or kill. To refrain from injuring your septic system or contributing to breakdowns and malfunctions, appeal to this list of save vs. unsafe items. When you work together with your septic system, it will last as long as possible. For more tips, call Economy Septic today at (256) 435-1086!