Now we all know that what we put IN our body will often determine the kind of performance we will get OUT of our body. The same can be assumed of your septic tank. Your tank is made for specific substances to be put into them and when other liquids, solids, etc., are disposed, it can effect and damage the ability for your system to function. It is important to remember that septic tank systems have living organisms inside of them that help treat and dispose of what is put inside. When substances that are not good for the tank get disposed of, this can hurt or even kill these organisms.
Here are some of the more common items that should not be put into your septic tank system:
- Food scraps
- Coffee grinds
- Misc. food items
- Cooking grease
- Cooking oil
- Paper towels
- Facial tissues
- Sanitary napkins
- Cigarette butts
- Dental floss
- Disposable diapers
- Kitty litter
In the kitchen cooking grease and oil can can greatly increase the level of scum in your tank. In the bathroom the only things that should go into the septic tank is waste water and tissue paper. Most household cleaners are safe to go into the tank with the one exception of drain cleaners. Only a small amount can kill the bacteria used to help break down the substances in the tank and can temporarily disrupt the system altogether.
You should use caution and only put a moderate amount of bleach, disinfectants, and drain and toilet bowl cleaners down your drain. When used excessively these substances can harm your drain. And of course, any toxic substances should never go into your system.
Some substances that should NEVER go down your drain are as follows. These can permanently damage your system and put you in a world of hurt:
- Paint thinners
- Waste oil
- Photographic solutions
- Antibacterial soaps
- Any organic chemical
These items will destroy the bacteria in your system and stop the digestion that takes place. They will also pollute the ground water around it and put the community at risk. There should be a hazard waste disposal area in your community. This is the best practice to dispose of such substances. If you have trouble finding one you can contact your local health department.
The Myth of Additives and System Cleaners
Don’t fall for the additives, system cleaners, and various other products out on the market that claim to “clean” or “heal” your system. The fact is there no magic substance that will fix your system if it is in trouble. Many professionals believe that these products can actually make your septic system worse.
There are two different kind of additives that are offered on the market: biological and chemical. The biological additives are harmless to your system; they just do not really work. The chemical additives, however, can have adverse effects to your septic tank. They can potentially harm the soil in the drainfield as well as the ground water in the area. As a general rule, experts believe that additives are unnecessary and cause more harm than good.