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7 Surprising Ways to Avoid Septic Tank Trouble

Septic tanks are large underground tanks that fill up with household wastewater slowly over many months. When a septic tank fills up with enough water, that wastewater filters into the soil, where it is naturally cleaned and reintroduced into the groundwater supply.

Septic tanks need special care compared to sewers. Some things that have no effect on sewers can have a big effect on septic tanks. If you are new to septic tank ownership and used to having a sewer, this information can help you avoid a clog or serious septic tank damage. Here is what you need to know.

1. Watch Where You Park

Septic tanks are in the ground, often not far from the house. In addition, pipes leading away from the septic tank into the drainfield are also throughout the yard. Parking your car on the septic tank, the mainline leading to the septic tank, or the pipes leading to the drainfield could cause serious damage to the septic system. Know where your septic tank and drainfield are to avoid this damage.

2. Stop Using Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals send solid waste into the septic tank. Although septic tanks hold solid waste, this waste must have periodic draining from the tank.

Using a disposal sends extra waste into the tank, which can require it to have more frequent plumbing. If the tank does not have pumping service often enough, the solid waste inside the tank can clog the drainfield. If you need a garbage disposal, purchase one that is septic tank–compatible.

3. Be Mindful of Landscaping

Landscaping can put a heavy load on your septic tank, just like your vehicle. If you install new landscaping on your property, avoid placing heavy landscaping features directly over your septic tank. This includes pavers, concrete blocks, and heavy garden boxes filled with dirt.

If you add these features to your lawn, map out the placement of your septic system, drainfield, and mainline. Doing this in advance will help you decide where you can safely put heavy landscaping features.

4. Never Flush the Flushable Products

When you are out shopping for products like diapers, kitty litter, disposable wipes, or tampons, you may come across some products labelled flushable. Be wary of these products, as not all these products may be safe for septic tanks.

Flushable items can fill up your septic tank in the same way that solid food could fill up your septic tank. The best way to ensure that your septic tank will be safe is to flush only toilet paper, human waste, and wastewater.

5. Keep Antibacterial Products Out of the Tank

Septic tanks are full of bacteria. This may sound like a bad thing but is not. Bacteria helps keep the tank functioning by breaking down the solid waste and turning it into liquid. In fact, if you were to eliminate the bacteria in the tank, it would stop functioning.

Although it would be hard to get rid of all the bacteria in the tank, you can flush some products that could greatly reduce your tank’s bacteria content. Here is what you should not flush down your tank:

  • Medicines

  • Bleach

  • Antibacterial soap

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Bleach-based detergents

  • Other antibacterial products

If you are not sure about a product, ask your septic tank technician or contractor. Your septic tank professional can help you decide what products are and are not safe for your septic tank.

6. Stop Flushing Coffee Grounds Down the Drain

Some people believe that coffee grounds are good for their drains. A common myth states that coffee grounds will scratch away clogs and that coffee grounds have deodorizing properties that can keep their drain smelling fresh.

Whether any truth exists to this is not clear. However, if you own a septic tank, flushing coffee grounds will fill the tank with solids and cause potential clogs. Keep your drains clear by using drain strainers, drain baskets, and drain filters.

7. Do Not Flush Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners can do harm to the bacteria in your septic tank. If you need to clean your drains, use a plumber’s auger to get the job done. A plumber’s auger is a relatively inexpensive reusable product that can keep your drain clear without using chemicals. If your drain clogs, contact a plumber.

Contact a Septic Tank Professional

If you are a homeowner who would like to know more about how you can keep your septic tank in good condition, talk to a septic tank professional today.

At Rob’s Septic Tanks, Inc., we are happy to answer your questions and give you information about maintaining your tank. Give us a call to set up an appointment. If you do have septic tank problems, we can visit your home, diagnose the issues, and recommend what to do next. We look forward to serving your septic system needs.

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