Septic tank maintenance

August, 2012:

Septic sludge product

Your septic expert just arrived to orient you about your new septic system. It was a new learning opportunity for you because it was your first time to own your own home and your own septic. Years back, you shared your space with strangers in your apartment building. You didn’t really care about the septic system because you only had an apartment unit to rent. It was the landlady’s problem when it concerned the septic. When it was time for you to get a place of your own, you wanted everything to be correctly done. You knew that there would be expenses and you wanted money to be well-spent. The septic expert prepared flyers and modules for you to read after the orientation. You wanted the hard copy because of your busy schedule as well. You wouldn’t want to forget a thing especially the septic sludge product.

The septic system has one vital thing that will either make or break the entire process of wastewater treatment—the sludge. The sludge is found at the bottom part of the septic tank. It houses the anaerobic bacteria that break down the solid waste materials that go with the wastewater that enters the system. At normal levels, the sludge would allow a clear effluent to disperse into the drain field. This would not yield any clogging problem or system failure in the future. At highly excessive levels, the sludge will occupy the septic tank space, causing it to overflow. The effluent in the tank will disperse the sludge into the drain field. The drain field will get clogged and this inevitably results to system malfunction and failure. Your house and yard would start having septic water backups and disarming septic odors. The fumes contain toxic gases that would be very unhealthy for you. The septic water itself would be filled with pathogens that will result to diseases of every kind. If ever your system was to suffer from such a septic problem, your septic expert told you about the right septic sludge product that you could consider purchasing.

The right septic sludge product to help restore the normal sludge conditions should be bacterial additives. This type of septic sludge product really eliminated the heavy sludge accumulation throughout the entire system. As this process goes on, the septic odors will also be eliminated. The surrounding soil and water system remain safe when you use the bacterial septic sludge product because it doesn’t have chemical discharges to pollute.

When you choose to use a septic sludge product, keep in mind that you should not depend on it. You should still make efforts to keep the pump out schedules and to properly care for your system by doing the following:

  • Removing structures and vehicles over your septic to avoid soil compaction. Soil compaction crushes the septic components.
  • Relocate the plants that you have over your septic. The invasive roots damage or clog the system.
  • Redirect the gutter so that it would drain away from the system. Water load could be lessened this way.
  • Never dump grease, non-biodegradable materials, antibacterial solutions, and very strong chemicals into the system.

Your septic expert also asked you if anyone in your household was under prescription medications. If this is so, then you would have to subject your septic system to a regular septic treatment. These medications (namely antibiotics) kill off the resident bacteria and increase the sludge levels. Adding more bacteria will enable the system to regain the bacterial population that it loses when the medications are dumped in with the waste.

Septic sludge products should be chosen very well so that it would benefit you, the system, and the environment altogether. You can always seek the advice of your septic expert or perform personal research on your own through the Internet. Knowing the right things to do in septic system maintenance will help you become a more responsible homeowner and ultimately, a more dependable person.

Natural leach field cleaners

There are many things taught to you by your grandmother. She taught you recipes, life lessons, and even strategies to handle money. One of the things she taught was how to take care of your septic system. She said that you should just place a cake of yeast in the septic tank and just leave it alone. According to her, the yeast is one of the best natural leach field cleaners available. A septic system is a self-maintaining system that should be left alone to do its work.

 It was almost time for the scheduled maintenance of your leach field when your grandmother decided to pay you a long visit, which equates to about a month long stay. The day you picked her up at the airport, you decided to save on time and drop by the local septic shop to buy the additives that you need for the upcoming maintenance day. When your grandmother asked where you were, you answered her casually. Her eyes widened at what you were going to buy but instead of fully arguing with you, she decided to go inside with you and see what your modern septic shop had to offer.

The store owner assisted you with your septic supply shopping. Your grandmother just couldn’t hide her skepticism at the numerous additives or cleaners that lined the shelves. You looked at the shop owner with an apologetic look and just told him that you needed some natural leach field cleaners. After a few minutes, your order was prepared and packed. Your grandmother’s eyebrows were raised when you placed the cleaners in the back seat. She said that the septic shop before was a bakery. She just ordered a cake of yeast and that was it. 

There was no point in arguing with her in the car. You just told her that the modern septic tanks required more than a cake of yeast to survive the torture of wastewater. She actually didn’t know how a septic system worked. After you brought in her things, you brought her to the kitchen to have some milk and cookies as you prepared dinner. 

You began by saying that the septic system is the wastewater treatment system of your entire household. All the wastes from your home go to the septic tank and stay there until the effluent goes to the leach field and the solid wastes are separated from the effluent to be degraded by the anaerobic bacteria. With the help of the anaerobic bacteria in the tank degrade the solid wastes and create the sludge layer. Meanwhile, the aerobic bacteria purify the effluent before it is returned to the surrounding environment. 

Your grandmother argues with her yeast practice but you explained that the yeasts only accelerate the accumulation of the sludge layer and contribute greatly to the clogging of the leach field. If the leach field gets clogged heavily, the aerobic bacteria get killed off and don’t get to purify the effluent anymore. The clogging also prevents the soil absorption system to absorb the outgoing wastewater, thus resulting to the backup of sewage into the home or onto the yard. This is why the septic tank has to be pumped out regularly as scheduled and the leach field should be cleaned as scheduled as well. 

Natural leach field cleaners should be used because they contain non-pathogenic bacteria that help accelerate the breakdown of the solid wastes. And because these products are composed of bacteria, they do not have harmful chemicals that could harm the already existing bacterial population, the tank, the components, and the surrounding environment. The bacteria in the septic tank and in the leach field should be well taken care of so that the efficiency of the system can be maintained.

Your grandmother admitted that she didn’t really know how the yeast cakes she dumped into their septic tank before benefited the system. It was just something that her own mother told her to do. As you served up dinner, your grandmother realized that the modern times have benefits and the use of natural leach field cleaners were most beneficial.

Do laundry detergents or soaps harm drain fields?

When you have a functional septic system, you must be taking care of your septic tank and drain field very well. Do laundry detergents or soaps harm drain fields is the topic of this article. There are the two main components of the septic system that you need to focus on so that you may be able to enjoy your home for the longest time. It is not surprising for you to be curious if certain chemical compounds that you use could harm your drain field, especially when you are always a homeowner who wants to maintain an efficient septic system.

As you know, you cannot live in a home without cleaning. You should clean all the time to make sure that your entire household is healthy. This includes doing your laundry. It is already a given that you use laundry detergents or soaps but since you have decided to purchase a washer and dryer and not go to the Laundromat anymore, this issue has been bugging you for weeks already. Do laundry detergents harm drain fields?

Any septic expert could tell you that technically, laundry detergents or soaps do not harm the drain fields because by the time they reach that area of the septic system they area already very dilute. They won’t affect the bacterial population that degrade the solid wastes in the tank and purify the effluent in the drain field. However, the phosphates and surfactants that are present in these laundry soaps do harm the surrounding bodies of water. We will try to answer the old question of do laundry detergents or soaps harm drain fields? To be on the safe side, there are some soaps or detergents that are safe to use in your home that are very friendly to the septic system and to your environment:

1. Mild detergents and soaps

This type of soap/detergent is said to be the best one to use when you have septic tanks and drain fields. The mild soaps/detergents are very friendly to the bacterial population in the system and will not kill them at all. Antibacterial soaps are the most harmful to the septic system because these products stop the decomposition done by the bacterial population and impair the degradation of the solid wastes, leading to the failure of the drain field. 

2. Liquid detergent for laundry

Dry detergent have more fillers or extenders that clog the drain field than liquid detergents. With this, it is better to use the liquid type of laundry detergents. The cheaper dry laundry soaps contain montmorillonite clay as a form of filler. This clogs the drain field because this is primarily used as a sealant. Sodium and other extenders are also added to the dry laundry soaps that could definitely clog the drain field.

3. Non-toxic cleaners

You should make it a habit to search for non-toxic cleaners to use in your home. When you do use them, do so minimally. You should limit the use of household cleansers because functionally, they are made to degrade grease, eliminate dirt, and destroy pathogens. If the cleaning agent is more toxic, then it could do more damage to the drain field and to the entire system. Make sure that before you purchase household cleansers, read the labels carefully to assess their toxicity. There are polishing agents and disinfectants that are very poisonous to the bacteria found in the septic tank. Search for the least toxic of all household cleansers before going on impulse and purchasing the harshest by mistake.

If you are determined to use a washing machine with your drain field, then you should make sure that there is a dry well installed beside it. This is like a tank that collects all the runoff from the washing machine. If you are concerned about the detergents damaging the environment, a dry well is the best thing that you could have with your septic system. There will be times when non-toxic detergents will be out of stock for some reason. A dry well will be helpful to prevent the harsh detergents that you could use from harming the bacteria and clogging the drain field. We hope that we answered the question of do laundry detergents or soaps harm a drain field.