septic system

Top 10 Septic System No-No’s

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 If your home runs waste-water through a septic system, here are some very important things for you to know.


Never ever...

  1. Flush semi or non-biodegradable items into septic tank, including paper towels, newspapers, writing paper, rags, disposable diapers, or cat litter.
  2. Wash down sides of septic tank when it is pumped. The remaining slime contains bacteria which will be needed to digest the wastewater.
  3. Flush large amounts of chlorine bleach or lye products into the septic tank. However, normal household use will not harm the bacteria.
  4. Pour used motor oil into the septic tank.
  5. Discharge brine (salt water) waste from self-regenerating water softeners to the septic tank. The high salt concentrations will clog the soil pores.
  6. Connect roof drains and yard drains to septic tanks. Extra water will flood the tank and the leach field.
  7. Construct leach field in close proximity to another leach field. The soil will become too saturated and both systems will fail.
  8. Plant small or medium-sized trees within ten feet of leach fields, or large-sized trees within 20 feet of leach fields. (Roots will clog the pipelines).
  9. Plant vegetation which requires excessive amounts of water on top of the leach filed.
  10. Drive vehicles or place heavy objects, such as portable swimming pools, over septic tanks and leach fields.

Some Common Myths About Septic Systems

  • Septic systems last forever and never need replacement.
    • (Septic systems require periodic maintenance including pumping of the septic tank once every 3 to 5 years. Leach fields may need to be replaced every 15-30 years).
  • Washing machine water and rinse water should be discharged to the ground surface to protect the leach field.
    • (Water from the washing machine is wastewater, and should be treated and disposed of in the same manner as water from sinks and showers. Washing machine water contains bacteria removed from the clothes and will contaminate surface streams).
  • If the septic system appears to be failing, flush the septic tank with large amounts of water.
    • (Septic system failures are caused by accumulated solids in the septic tank or clogged soil pores. Flushing the septic tank will cause the solids to be forced into the soil absorption system and may cause irreversible damage to the leach field).

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