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Tips for greener, leaner septic tanks

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septic tank by SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr

Keeping your septic tank in tip top shape is pivotal for reliable long term use and essential for a trouble free system.

A lot of us make the same mistakes with our tanks and suffer from the same sorts of issues, so here are a number of good tips to prevent problems.

Properly Keeping Records

It is important to hold on to copies of all the sites system drawings and plans as well as installed equipment and all service records, these should be stored with the rest of your home appliance documents according to Septic tank company TG Wastewater. They suggest all applicable information should be recorded and receipts for all new parts or spares kept as it can make a big difference if something major goes wrong.

The Use of Laundry and Water

Wash loads should be spread throughout the week. Opt for dryer sheets over liquid fabric softener. Detergents that are biodegradable, low suds and low phosphate should be used.

Fixtures Which Leak

When you have fixtures which leak, a large amount of water is added to your wastewater system. You will maximize your system’s life, particularly the drain field, by detecting and repairing the leaking fixtures in a timely manner.

The Use of Water Softeners

It is more likely that discharge form softeners which are properly working and backwash depending on the use of water aka DIR as opposed to those that are timer operated will be better tolerated, if this is allowed by the local regulatory authority. These discharges however may possibly cause damage to other areas of your septic system.

Food Waste Disposal

If allowed by the local regulatory authority, the disposal of food waste garbage is acceptable. This could however bring about the need for frequent removal of solids from the septic tank. If the food quantities are large, they should be disposed of in the garbage can.

Oils, Fats and Grease

Too much grease which includes vegetable oils, animal fats and lard being sent down the drain could cause an overload of bacteria preventing it from being able to break down the waste fully.

Cleansers and Disinfectants

Chlorine, citric acid as well as any other biodegradable cleansers should be properly used, the manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed. Products which contain quaternary ammonia as well as any cleansers which are pine oil based should not be utilized. Use drain cleaners to unclog pipes as a very last resort.

Workroom and Garage Floor Drains

These floor drains should be diverted away from the septic system. Petroleum based items as well as sawdust and gas should never be put into the system.

Medicines

These should never be flushed down the drain. Treatment quality will be harmed by all antibiotic medicines. Any medications which are unused should be returned to the pharmacy or to the prescribing physician, if necessary thrown them away in the garbage.

Additives and Enzymes for the Septic Tank

All the bacteria required for proper operation is contained in the systems wastewater. It is unnecessary to add additives, these are generally more harmful than they are helpful.

What Are The Best Paper Products

Double or single ply white toilet paper products which are not quilted should be used. There are many color shades that paper contains which will not be eaten by the natural bacteria. It takes longer for brown, aka non bleached paper to break down, this can cause an increase in the frequency of your biosolids pump out. Napkins, paper towels, wipes and any other paper material which is thicker should not be flushed.

It is important to be very careful with the disinfection products as well as cleansers that are poured down the sink. By overusing antibacterials, heavy cleansers and disinfectants the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank which helps to digest the solid deposits will be killed. If you use antibacterial products for washing your hands, every time you wash you will be poisoning the bacteria in your septic tank.

Grease and oil should never be poured down the sinks, prior to washing, wipe off all greasy dishes with absorbent paper towels. The septic tanks soak away will become clogged with grease, this will make it waterproof and it is then impossible for soil to absorb any liquids and will require a new soakaway. Varnish, motor oils, White Spirit, petrol and chemical which are similar are not easy for the soil bacteria to break down, this will ruin the septic system. The condensate found in condensing boilers is very high in acids, this should never be allowed into the foul drains.

The Importance of protecting Your Soakaway

Your soakaway should never be driven over, a protective structure should be built over it or it should be covered with Tarmac or concrete, if there will only be foot traffic than gravel is fine. If possible, grass should be sown over the soakaway area, this is due to the fact that grass soaks up a lot of water. Here are some good tips.

You should pump the solids from your septic tank annually. If someone has ever told you they do not need to be emptied they are ignorant and should be ignored. The storage capability for sludge is twelve months, if you go past the twelve months and do not empty it the soakaway will be ruined.

Never attempt to lift your septic tank lid on your own, especially if you are all by yourself. You can very quickly be overcome by the gases in the tank and the bacteria it contains is very dangerous. In order to protect themselves from harm, those who work in the sewage industry undergo regular vaccine intakes to prevent Tetanus, Hepatitis, Diphtheria etc.

 

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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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