Nearly one-fifth of U.S. households are not connected to the main sewage network, which equates to more than 21 million households depending on septic systems. Septic tanks are un-derground watertight chambers that, commonly made of fiberglass, plastic, or concrete, collect and treat basic wastewater. While these types of onsite sewage facilities are quite simple, they work around the clock to collect and dispose of excreta, laundry discharge, and wastewater from your toilet and bath. This is why Septic Tank Maintenance is so important! When wastewater separates, the solid particles that cannot be broken down settle to the bottom of the tank, where they form a layer of sludge. If left for too long, this sludge not only releases toxins and pathogens, but it will also cause a very expensive and dangerous mess. In addition to regular cleanings, here are four secrets to maintaining your septic tank.
1. Washing Machine Filters
Does your washing machine have a filter? Because that is the first secret to septic tank mainte-nance. Not using a filter is one of the leading causes of septic system failure; lint, due to its size and weight, does not settle into the septic tank but rather is flushed out, where it clogs the soil in drain fields. While the lint generated from one wash might not seem substantial, the average family’s laundry generates enough lint every year to carpet an entire living room floor! To make matters even worse, the majority of our clothing and carpeting is manufactured from synthetic materials, such as polyester and nylon. These substances, which are comprised of plastics, are not biodegradable and, therefore, will not break down in a septic system. They also cannot be removed once they enter the soil!
2. Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Not only are eco-friendly cleaning products better for the planet, hence the name, but they are also a secret weapon in septic tank maintenance. While it may take an excessive amount of laundry detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners to kill the useful bacteria in your septic sys-tem, which causes it to fail ultimately, this is expedited if you use the drain, toilet bowl, and floor cleaner. We also recommend you avoid dumping solvents, oils, paints, thinners, disinfect-ants, pesticides, or poisons down the drain; these will not only disrupt the treatment process, but they will also contaminate your groundwater.
3. Reduce Your Water Consumption
Increased water flow to your septic tank overloads the system, resulting in a flood. You can avoid overloading your septic system and leach-field by using high-efficiency fixtures, toilets, washers and dryers, and dishwashers. But a more affordable septic tank maintenance secret is simply to spread out your water use.
4. Ditch the Garbage Disposal
If you can’t completely break your garbage disposal habit, we recommend only using it when absolutely necessary. Garbage disposal counts as an extra bath because it requires water to op-erate, and as mentioned above, reducing water consumption is one of the secrets to septic tank maintenance. In addition to using water, garbage disposal also breaks food solids to a size that is small enough to flow from the septic tank into the field, sometimes without being fully di-gested.