11 Tips for a Cleaner Septic Tank at Home

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septic-tank-by-susana-secretariat-via-flickr

Although septic tanks take in most of the waste from your house, they too need to be kept in tip top condition. It is by keeping these tanks in good condition that you won’t have to worry about septic emergencies. Most septic tank problems and emergencies can be avoided.

We asked water treatment company Biopro for details on keeping tanks clean. Outlined below are a few tips on how to care for your septic tank.

1. Keep all records properly

Experts recommend keeping all records (site system plans and drawings) of the septic tank together with other relevant documents. You should also preserve all service records for future use, as these hold important info about the tank and everything it has. This includes service records, parts, spares installed, and when it was serviced last. The next contract may want to look into these to determine possible problems.

2. Laundry and Water

It would be advisable to spread wash loads throughout the week as opposed to washing them all at once.  You should also consider using dryer sheets, biodegradable detergents, and low phosphate suds as well.

3. Leaking Fixtures

Leaking fixtures almost always result in massive water loss, which mostly ends up in the wastewater system.  Having such fixtures repaired and serviced regularly can however help prevent this, this maximizing the septic tank’s life.

4. Water Softeners

Although water softeners come in handy especially in areas with hard water, it would be advisable to use a timer-operated water softener. The reason for this is that a water softener may contain compounds that pose a major risk to the septic system and tank, hence should be regulated to avoid emergencies. Check out these options from Kinteco.

5. Limit Food Waste Disposal

Although local regulatory authorities may allow it, it would be much safer for you to dispose of large quantities of food in garbage cans. By doing this, you will be reducing the number of solids in the septic tank and the need for frequent removal of the same.

6. Grease, Fats, and Oils

Animal fats, vegetable oils, and lard are some of the leading causes of bacterial overload in septic systems. This means other forms of waste might not be broken down entirely, which can be a problem in the long run. Avoid washing these oils down the drain if possible.

7. Disinfectants and Cleansers

Although citric acid and chlorine may be biodegradable, it would be best if you use them appropriately and according to the manufacturer’s specifications. You however should avoid pine oil based cleansers and quaternary ammonia altogether. Only use these products as a last result to unclog pipes.

8. Garage Floor and Workroom Drains

Any waste from the garage floor should be diverted away from the drainage system. This includes sawdust, gas, and other petroleum based products.

9. Drugs

Never flush any form of medication down the drain. Antibiotic medicines are known to harm septic treatment quality and should be avoided.  Any unused medication should either be returned to the prescribing physician, or thrown in the garbage.

10. Enzymes and Additives

These pose more harm than good to septic systems, hence shouldn’t be flushed down the drain.

11. Toilet Paper Products

Toilet paper comes in many different forms and shapes. Nonetheless, only go for single or double ply white toilet paper and not the colored ones. The only downside with colored toilet paper is that they take longer to brown or break down. These papers therefore accumulate in the septic tank causing bio-solid buildup. Paper towels, napkins, and wipes shouldn’t be flushed as the material is too hard for bacteria to break them down in time.

The type of disinfectants you use on your toilets and cleansers on sinks also play a huge role in the septic system’s health. Some disinfectants, antibacterial drugs, and soaps are too strong for septic treatments, hence end up killing beneficial bacteria in the septic tank.  These bacteria are essentially needed for decomposing waste materials; hence their numbers should be kept reasonably high. It would therefore be best if you avoid heavy use of antibacterial products, or just wash your hands with pure water.

Never pour oil or grease from dishes down the sink – wipe it all using an absorbent paper towel. Grease and oil clog the tank’s soak away, which waterproofs it. This makes it almost impossible for the soil to absorb liquids from the septic tank, meaning you will have to look for another soak away. Petrol, white spirit, motor oils, and varnish also contain complex bonds that are hard for soil bacteria to break down hence shouldn’t be allowed into the septic tank.  Condensing boilers contain a condensate (highly acidic solution) that should never be allowed into the main drain system as well.

Reasons You Should Protect Your Soakaway

The soakaway should be preserved at all costs to help maintain its effectiveness. Consider building a protective structure over it (preferably concrete or tarmac) to prevent people from driving over it. If the soakaway area is far off, have some grass sown over it as well. Grass takes up lots of water hence perfect for the area.  Other septic tank safety tips and measures are discussed below. Be sure to follow them to prevent a disaster in the future.

Pumping solids from the septic tank at least once annually:  Although most people do not have their septic tanks emptied, it would be wise to have the solids removed at least once a year. Removing the sludge not only improves storage capacity but also helps protect the soakaway.

Although it may be tempting, never try to open a septic tank lid alone. Opening the lid by yourself only allows toxic gasses and harmful bacteria to escape through – this could be overwhelming for your body. Only have trained professionals to take care of your septic system to avoid contracting illnesses such as hepatitis, tetanus, and Diphtheria.