Septic System Do’s & Don’ts
- Direct all wastewater from your home into the septic tank. This includes all sink, bath, shower, toilet, washing machine and dishwasher wastewaters. Any of these waters can contain disease-causing microorganisms.
- If the tank is 3-4 ft. below ground level, simplify inspection and cleaning by installing a 20-24 inch manhole about 12 inches below ground level. Most recently installed tanks are just 6-12 inches below ground and would make a manhole unnecessary.
- Repair leaky faucets and toilets. One leaky toilet can waste as much as 700 gallons of water a year.
Educate your family on proper use of the system.
- Spread out your laundry over several days to give the septic system more time to digest the water.
- Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full, and use the cycle with the lowest number of rinses.
- Use baking soda to clean toilets and boiling water and/or a mechanical drain snake to clear clogged drains.
- Use only non-phosphate laundry detergents.
- Allow only grass to grow on top of the tank and leaching field.
- Flush even small amounts of paint, solvent, thinners, disinfectants, pesticides, or oils down the drain or toilet. These chemicals can destroy the bacteria in the tank that break downs solids in the septic tank and pollute groundwater.
- Use large amounts of laundry soap, detergents, bleaches, toilet bowl cleaners, and caustic drain cleaners. Recommended quantities should not adversely affect the system.
- Use chemical compounds, enzymes, or septic tank cleaners. These can break down sludge, which can then flow into your leaching field, decreasing the life of the field.
- Allow excess amounts of fat or grease to enter the system. It can congeal and cause obstructions.
- Use garbage disposals.
- Flush paper towel, tampons, or sanitary napkins, condoms, plastic, cat litter, sanitary butt wipes or baby wipes. Pkgs may say septic safe, but they will plug pipes.
- Soak diapers in toilet bowl, a child may come along and try to flush the toilet.
- Put a lot of water into the system at once. Use water sensibly and teach children to do the same.