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11 Tips for a Cleaner Septic Tank at Home

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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.

 

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These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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2017 Was the Most Expensive Year Ever for U.S. Natural Disaster Damage

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Devastating natural disasters dominated last year’s headlines and made many wonder how the affected areas could ever recover. According to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storms and other weather events that caused the destruction were extremely costly.

Specifically, the natural disasters recorded last year caused so much damage that the associated losses made 2017 the most expensive year on record in the 38-year history of keeping such data. The following are several reasons that 2017 made headlines for this notorious distinction.

Over a Dozen Events With Losses Totalling More Than $1 Billion Each

The NOAA reports that in total, the recorded losses equaled $306 billion, which is $90 billion more than the amount associated with 2005, the previous record holder. One of the primary reasons the dollar amount climbed so high last year is that 16 individual events cost more than $1 billion each.

Global Warming Contributed to Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, one of two Category-4 hurricanes that made landfall in 2017, was a particularly expensive natural disaster. Nearly 800,000 people needed assistance after the storm. Hurricane Harvey alone cost $125 billion, with some estimates even higher than that. So far, the only hurricane more expensive than Harvey was Katrina.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit, scientists speculated climate change could make it worse. They discussed how rising ocean temperatures make hurricanes more intense, and warmer atmospheres have higher amounts of water vapor, causing larger rainfall totals.

Since then, a new study published in “Environmental Research Letters” confirmed climate change was indeed a factor that gave Hurricane Harvey more power. It found environmental conditions associated with global warming made the storm more severe and increase the likelihood of similar events.

That same study also compared today’s storms with ones from 1900. It found that compared to those earlier weather phenomena, Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall was 15 percent more intense and three times as likely to happen now versus in 1900.

Warming oceans are one of the contributing factors. Specifically, the ocean’s surface temperature associated with the region where Hurricane Harvey quickly transformed from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane has become about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer over the past few decades.

Michael Mann, a climatologist from Penn State University, believes that due to a relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, there was about 3-5 percent more moisture in the air, which caused more rain. To complicate matters even more, global warming made sea levels rise by more than 6 inches in the Houston area over the past few decades. Mann also believes global warming caused the stationery summer weather patterns that made Hurricane Harvey stop moving and saturate the area with rain. Mann clarifies although global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Harvey as a whole, it exacerbated several factors of the storm.

Also, statistics collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1901-2015 found the precipitation levels in the contiguous 48 states had gone up by 0.17 inches per decade. The EPA notes the increase is expected because rainfall totals tend to go up as the Earth’s surface temperatures rise and additional evaporation occurs.

The EPA’s measurements about surface temperature indicate for the same timespan mentioned above for precipitation, the temperatures have gotten 0.14 Fahrenheit hotter per decade. Also, although the global surface temperature went up by 0.15 Fahrenheit during the same period, the temperature rise has been faster in the United States compared to the rest of the world since the 1970s.

Severe Storms Cause a Loss of Productivity

Many people don’t immediately think of one important factor when discussing the aftermath of natural disasters: the adverse impact on productivity. Businesses and members of the workforce in Houston, Miami and other cities hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suffered losses that may total between $150-200 billion when both damage and sacrificed productivity are accounted for, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics.

Some workers who decide to leave their homes before storms arrive delay returning after the immediate danger has passed. As a result of their absences, a labor-force shortage may occur. News sources posted stories highlighting that the Houston area might not have enough construction workers to handle necessary rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.

It’s not hard to imagine the impact heavy storms could have on business operations. However, companies that offer goods to help people prepare for hurricanes and similar disasters often find the market wants what they provide. While watching the paths of current storms, people tend to recall storms that took place years ago and see them as reminders to get prepared for what could happen.

Longer and More Disastrous Wildfires Require More Resources to Fight

The wildfires that ripped through millions of acres in the western region of the United States this year also made substantial contributions to the 2017 disaster-related expenses. The U.S. Forest Service, which is within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reported 2017 as its costliest year ever and saw total expenditures exceeding $2 billion.

The agency anticipates the costs will grow, especially when they take past data into account. In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its annual budget for wildfire-fighting costs, but in 2015, the amount ballooned to 52 percent. The sheer number of wildfires last year didn’t help matters either. Between January 1 and November 24 last year, 54,858 fires broke out.

2017: Among the Three Hottest Years Recorded

People cause the majority of wildfires, but climate change acts as another notable contributor. In addition to affecting hurricane intensity, rising temperatures help fires spread and make them harder to extinguish.

Data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and published by the EPA highlighted a correlation between the largest wildfires and the warmest years on record. The extent of damage caused by wildfires has gotten worse since the 1980s, but became particularly severe starting in 2000 during a period characterized by some of the warmest years the U.S. ever recorded.

Things haven’t changed for the better, either. In mid-December of 2017, the World Meteorological Organization released a statement announcing the year would likely end as one of the three warmest years ever recorded. A notable finding since the group looks at global land and ocean temperature, not just statistics associated with the United States.

Not all the most financially impactful weather events in 2017 were hurricanes and wildfires. Some of the other issues that cost over $1 billion included a hailstorm in Colorado, tornados in several regions of the U.S. and substantial flooding throughout Missouri and Arkansas.

Although numerous factors gave these natural disasters momentum, scientists know climate change was a defining force — a reality that should worry just about everyone.

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