There are many items that homeowners should not pour down their drains or flush down their toilets simply because they can clog the pipes in a home. However, if you utilize a septic system as opposed to a public sewage system, you need to be especially diligent about what items you flush down your toilet or send down your drain. This is because septic systems operate on a smaller scale than sewage lines and can easily become clogged or full before your scheduled pumping. Below is a brief list of items you should definitely avoid if you have a septic system.
Septic systems do not work well with garbage disposals. This is because the naturally occurring bacteria in septic systems are unable to break down undigested food particles, so even if your food particles are well-ground by a garbage disposal, they will create a thick layer of sludge and scum in your septic tank rather than being broken down over time. This will increase how often you need to pump your septic tank and can lead to flooding if you are unaware that your tank needs to be pumped.
You should install traps over your sink drains to catch food particles and throw all food particles in the garbage or in a compost heap as opposed to sending them down your drain.
Grease, Fats, and Oils
Grease, fats, and oils are problematic in any plumbing system. However, some oils are able to make it out of your plumbing system without harming your pipes. Unfortunately, if you have a septic system, these oils will collect in your septic tank and can harden during cold weather, making your system clog. If you have a septic system, you need to be especially diligent about even small amounts grease, fats, and oils, as they will build up in your tank over time. For example, wipe greasy pans with a paper towel and then throw the paper towel away before washing the pan.
Coffee Grounds and Egg Shells
It is commonly recommended to put coffee grounds or egg shells in your kitchen sink to help prevent smells. Often, these items are used to clean garbage disposals. Since you will not be using your garbage disposal, you should not need to use these items to clean it. Coffee grounds and egg shells will both accumulate in your tank and can make pumping out your tank difficult. It is also important to realize that unpleasant scents coming from your sinks are often a sign that your septic tank needs maintenance, so rather than try to cover up those smells, you should deal with them at their source.
There has been a growing trend for companies to create hygiene products that are flushable. Popular items include intimate wipes that are advertised as an alternative to toilet paper, diapers, and diaper liners for cloth diapers. Unfortunately, these items are not as great at decomposing in a sewage system as they are advertised. These items will likely make it through your plumbing to your septic system, but they will quickly pile up and clog your septic tank, causing overflow and sanitation problems.
Cat litter, even the flushable brands, should not be flushed if you have a septic tank. The clay in these litters will not decompose and will create a solid layer of waste at the bottom of your tank, requiring more frequent pumping and possibly harming parts of your septic system. You should even avoid flushing cat feces down your toilet if it has been in the litter box, as the litter will clump to the feces, making it nearly impossible to break down.
For more information, contact a company like Martin Septic Service Inc.Share
7 October 2016
Hello, my name is Jon. After buying my home, I was uncertain about how to maintain the septic system. I called a septic service company to come inspect the tank and lines to further discuss the required maintenance and repair needs of the system. After the inspection, the septic company informed me that the tank was full and needed to be pumped out. Worn components were in need of replacement as well. As a result of my diligence, I was able to avoid system failure and protect my septic system from damage. I hope to use this site to help others avoid a similar septic emergency. Thank you.