While it depends on the size of tank needed, a replacement septic tank can cost several thousand dollars to have installed, so it makes sense to do everything you can to preserve the life of septic tanks. Proper maintenance plays a vital role in keeping both the tank and drain field performing as it should, but there are some things you can do to avoid problems. Here are the things you should not introduce to septic tanks if your goal is to get as many years of performance as possible.
- Excessive Water- Septic tanks are generally part of a gravity system where solids sink to the bottom of the tank, oils float on the top, and effluent flows from the middle to the drain field, where it is filtered before being introduced to the surrounding soils and eventually into the groundwater below. If you do back-to-back showering and laundry, you could disrupt this process and overwhelm both the tank and drain field.
- Non-Biodegradable Items- Anything that won’t break down in septic tanks will remain whole and quickly fill up the tank, thereby requiring more frequent pumping and potentially damaging the septic tank because it has become clogged. Do not introduce diapers, condoms, paper towels, facial tissues, feminine products, cotton balls, makeup wipes, or other such items. Generally speaking, the only thing that should be flushed besides human waste is toilet paper if you want to avoid a seriously clogged system.
- Anti-Bacterial Products- Septic tanks work by breaking down waste with beneficial bacteria. This process can come to a standstill if you put anti-bacterial products into the tank that kill these bacteria. Rather than use anti-bacterial soaps and liquid cleaning supplies, consider using wipes that you can put in the regular trash.
- FOG (Fat/Oils/Grease)- Your sink drains also go to the septic tank, so take care not to put items down the drain that aren’t good for your septic system. Since FOG items float on the top of septic tanks, limiting these is necessary so that this layer does not become so thick that it inadvertently flows to the drain field, not only destroying it but contaminating the soil and groundwater. You should also avoid putting contaminating chemicals down the drain.
If you would like to know more about what not to introduce to septic tanks, give us a call at RCS Inc. For more than 40 years, we have seen firsthand what poor practices can do to septic tanks and drain fields. We would much rather help you keep your system performing properly than be called for septic tank replacements and costly repairs. Call today to learn more.