Household Chemicals To Avoid In Your Septic System
Some household chemicals can be dangerous to septic systems. These substances are toxic to the bacteria that break down waste and help the septic system function properly. Avoid drain cleaners, bleach, emulsifiers and any other chemical that can upset this balance. This can skew the bacterial mix and cause problems with your system.
Antibacterial soap is often marketed as a cleaner to kill germs. They are formulated with chemical additives like triclosan, benzalkonium chloride and other ingredients that can help fight bacterial growth. The chemicals can be harmful to septic systems as they can interfere with the biological action in your tank and drain field. They can also cause the tank to fill with solids more quickly, which will damage your system.
Medicines are another product that should not be dumped into your septic system. These liquids can ruin the bacterial balance in your tank and cause it to fail. They can also contain toxic chemicals that can pollute the groundwater, making your family sick. If you have leftover medications, consider using take-back programs that allow you to dispose of them responsibly.
Fats, oils and greases (FOGs) are a by-product of cooking food. They are often dumped into septic systems through sinks, garbage disposals or storm drains. FOGs are harmful to sewage treatment plants and the waterways. They clog up sewer pipes and interfere with water flow, leading to backups. They also swell up in septic tanks and clog the soil pores in the leaching field, preventing wastewater from being sent to the ground. This can lead to puddles of sewage in a yard, which is hazardous for people living there and for those using private groundwater wells. Keeping septic systems healthy is essential for Town residents and the waterways they use to drink, bathe and fish. Having your septic tank pumped and inspected on a regular basis will help reduce the amount of FOGs that end up in our waters.
Chemical drain cleaners are often dumped into a home’s septic system. They contain harsh chemicals that can corrode pipes and disrupt the balance of bacteria that naturally breaks down waste in your septic tank. They can also contaminate the soil and groundwater surrounding your septic system. This can lead to a number of problems, including leaks and odors. Luckily, there are septic-friendly solutions out there. For example, you can pour boiling water down the drain or add a combination of baking soda and vinegar. These methods are safer for your septic tank and will help to replenish good bacteria that can be depleted by the chemicals in commercial drain cleaners.
Methylisothiazolinone, a common preservative used in baby wipes and other personal hygiene products, is known to cause skin sensitivities in some people. It is also harmful to the environment, including freshwater and marine organisms, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Methylisothiazolinone can be particularly a problem for septic tanks, because it kills the beneficial bacteria that break down waste. It can also clog the septic tank, and is toxic to fish. It is therefore best to avoid this chemical. Instead, use a septic-friendly product that is biodegradable and phosphate-free.