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Do’s and Don’ts of Septic Systems

The best way to ensure an efficient, sustainable septic system is to adhere to key do’s and don’ts.

First, the Don’ts:

  1. Avoid putting anything in your septic system that does not decompose quickly. That means no tampons, cat litter, paper towels, sanitary wipes, disposable diapers, etc.
  2. Avoid excessive oils or grease, which can clog plumbing pipes and pollute soil in and around your drainage field. This includes cooking oils, motor oil, paint thinners, or gasoline.
  3. Avoid heavy, noxious chemicals when cleaning your bathroom or kitchen fixtures. Flushing these chemicals into your septic system can kill the bacteria needed to consume waste so it doesn’t build up in your septic tank.
  4. Avoid planting deep-rooting plants or trees near your tank or main plumbing lines. It’s best to keep such plants at least 100 feet away from drainage areas.

Now for the Do’s:

  1. Do use organic, biodegradable cleaners for all household cleaning needs.
  2. Invest in water-sensitive appliances and use them for “full” loads only, which can help maintain a healthy water level in your system. Too much water can affect efficiency.
  3. Protect your draining field from excessive rainwater or standing pools of water.
  4. Invest in the best garbage disposal you can afford. You want one that grinds food waste into the finest pieces possible to help improve decomposition time within the tank.
  5. Do have your system checked and serviced regularly to detect and repair leaks early, inspect and clear lines, preserve healthy bacteria levels, and reduce buildup or remove compacted sludge from the tank.