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Tips for Septic Systems

Should I use my garbage disposal?

No. Food does not easily break down in the septic tank. Participate in the City's food waste recycling program or compost your food waste to reduce your garbage and save your septic tank.

Should I use "miracle additives" in my septic tank?
We recommend that you avoid additives because they aren't necessary.  Don't be tempted by claims that you'll never have to pump again and remember that chemicals can seep into the ground and pollute the water. Should I use a liquid or powdered detergent?
It doesn't matter which one you use, but if you use powdered, choose a concentrate.  Bulk, economy-size powders may have fillers made of clay that can clog the septic tank inlet. What is the best way to clean slow drains?
To speed up slow drains use a gentle cleaner.  Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar and pour down the drain. Follow with a kettle of boiling water.  Check out some other earth-friendly cleaners.  Be careful: Large amounts of some drain-clog removers can kill the bacteria needed to break down human waste. How does conserving water help my septic tank?
Excessive amounts of water in your septic system increase the wastewater load on the absorption field and reduce the soil's capacity to absorb.  Water conservation extends the life of your septic system.  Consider these water-saving tips:

  • Install low-flush toilets and water-saving faucets and showerheads.
  • Quickly repair leaky fixtures.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry.
  • Divert water, especially downspouts, away from the drainfield.  The drainfield can lose its ability to remove pollutants from wastewater when it gets saturated.
Can I make it easier to inspect my tank?
Yes, installing risers makes it easier to inspect and pump your tank. This makes it easier to find your tank opening and saves the time (and expense) of digging.  How can I protect my drainfield?
Install an effluent filter to protect your drainfield.  This keeps sludge and scum from moving into the drainfield.  A plumber can install a high-quality filter.  Can pumping my tank save me money?
Yes, if sludge isn't pumped out, the buildup can cause your drainfield to clog, and the system to malfunction.