Myths and Facts About Septic Systems

 

When it comes to routine care, it’s imperative that you don’t fall for the common myths floating around about what your septic system needs and doesn’t need for optimal function. So, let’s separate fact from fiction, with regard to septic system care.

The EPA estimates that more than one in five households in America have septic systems. While it does process and treat solid waste matter and water, that does not mean that septics are equivalent to a garbage disposal. Some products featuring the claim of being “septic-safe” are certainly not in many cases – take flushable wipes, for example. We’re going to dispel some of the common myths and share a few facts to protect your septic system while saving you time and money.

Here’s what you need to know:

Myth: Anything can be flushed down the toilet.

Fact: Wouldn’t that be ideal? However, this is a common and costly misconception because clogged pipes, leaks, and backed up septic tanks are the possible effects of this practice. It’s best to avoid flushing anything other than organic human waste and toilet paper (flushable wipes do not break down easily like toilet paper). Another safe bet to keep in mind is limiting the use of household disinfectants and not using drain cleaner. These chemicals disrupt the balance of bacteria in the system that interacts with and helps process the waste matter, and may cause the system to fail.

Myth: Septic systems don’t require regular maintenance.

Fact: This is just plain false. If you want to ensure that your system operates well and lasts for a long time, then it’s necessary to perform routine maintenance and inspection. This should be done by a professional, like the service team at Acuantia. An annual inspection will catch any issues before they become severe, but the system also requires regular pumping. We recommend pumping septic tanks every 3-5 years, depending on the size of your household, to keep the system in good working order.

Myth: A clogged system requires replacement.

Fact: This is not true. When septic systems are not working properly, you may dread the thought of the expense to replace it and delay service altogether. Don’t make this mistake because clogs are often the culprit of a malfunctioning system and there are cheaper alternative solutions for this, other than a pricey replacement. The Family Handyman suggests the process of “jetting,” similar to a pressure wash for the pipes, to eliminate common clog issues such as: a buildup of unprocessed effluent solids, bacterial overgrowth around distribution lines, and blockages due to tree root infiltration. Contact a professional service to diagnose the problem sooner rather than later to prevent septic system failure.

Myth: Additives are good for the septic system.

Fact: Not only is this false, but additive products are completely unnecessary and ineffective. Don’t buy into these alternative plumbing treatment products with claims of improving the health and operation of your system, eliminating the need for regular maintenance. Regardless of what you may have heard, these products aren’t really septic-friendly and do not replace the need for routine maintenance. The fact of the matter is that septic systems already have the necessary bacteria (from daily household use) to naturally filter and treat the effluent matter and wastewater, so you don’t have to add anything else to the system at all.

Myth: It’s okay to build or plant on top of the septic system.

Fact: Wrong. In general, this is not advisable, since your system won’t be accessible for maintenance and it can cause problems with the normal function of the septic and drain field. It’s best to keep the septic field free of any obstructions and accessible for pumping or inspection, and not to dig in this area or drive over it to prevent system malfunction and expensive repairs.

Now that you know the important facts about septic system care, you can keep your system healthy and operating effectively for a long time.

For more information about products and maintenance services or a free consultation, get in touch with Acuantia today!