The items that you flush into your septic system can have a huge effect on how well you system can do its job. It is important to remember that there are living organisms in your septic tank that process your waste, and they need to be looked after. A general rule of thumb that you should abide by is that if something can go in the trash, put it in the trash. Do not flush it into your septic system. Solids that build up within your tank will not disappear but rather take up space and need to be routinely pumped out. Not only does this mean that you have added expense with more frequent need to pump, but it also increases the chance of something going wrong with your system.
So, what are the main items to keep out of your on-site system?
In the kitchen, you should ensure that all solid waste products are put into the bin rather than down the drain. This can include but is not exclusive to items like food scraps and coffee grains. You should also try and make sure that cooking oils and fats are collected and not put into the system as they contribute to the scum layer towards the top of the tank and do not break down. They often become hard and cause unnecessary problems.
In your bathroom, you should also follow this approach. Only waste products should go down the toilet. That means no sanitary products, wet wipes, tampons or paper towels should get flushed. The list does not stop there though. Make sure products like dental floss, disposable diapers and condoms should also be kept out of the system.
It is also important to think about domestic household cleaners getting into your septic system. Normal cleaning products are fine if used within the manufacturers guidelines but you should be wary of using drain cleaners as these will kill the bacteria in your tank that do most of the good work. This means that even small amounts of drain cleaning fluid can disable your sewerage system from working effectively.
Products like bleach, disinfectants, and toilet cleaners should never be overused, and their labels should be properly followed to ensure no damage is caused to the system as they are toxic and hazardous.
Some other hazardous products that should never go into your system as they will damage the bacteria and pollute the surrounding groundwater and soil are listed below:
- Paint Thinners
- Photographic solutions
While this is not a complete list, it gives a good idea of items that should never be put knowingly into your septic tank system. It is safe to say that if you are in doubt, do not put the item in!
What About Additives?
Septic tank additive manufacturers want you to believe that their products do your system good, but it is widely believed by most professionals that there is no need to add anything to your waste system to make it work effectively. Some chemical additives can also create environmental issues for the surrounding soil so are not recommended.