When it comes to septic systems, what you flush or drain into your system can be a major factor when it comes to system functionality. Flushing or draining anything aside from excrement, urine and water down your toilets or sinks can be detrimental to your pipes and the functionality of your septic system, causing build-up and/or blockage as well as harm to the living organisms that help maintain a proper balance in the system.
Look at it this way, if it’s not immediately biodegradable or environmentally friendly, don’t flush or drain it.The following list will assist in guiding you through how to determine what not to flush or drain into your septic system. And while this is not a complete list, it will help you make proper disposal determinations:
- Cooking oil and/or grease: Oils and grease can solidify casing blocked piping and septic system back-ups.
- Flushable wipes of any type: Some brands of wipes will advertise as “Safe for your Septic System” but we recommend they get tossed in the garbage. Wipes do not disintegrate as rapidly as toilet paper. As a matter of fact, wipes can take weeks or months to sufficiently breakdown, and due to this, they can build up in the drain pipes and cause clogs and back-ups.
- Feminine Hygiene Products: We know, it’s so tempting to drop them right in the toilet because who wants to fumble with them? But don’t. Again, they don’t rapidly disintegrate so there’s a good chance they’ll just build up in the piping and lead to an even bigger mess to clean up.
- Dental Floss: Dental floss is generally non-biodegradable and like hair, it can build up in the pipes and cause clogs in the system. And because it’s non-biodegradable, it will just stay in the septic tank or could possibly flow out to the water supply.
- Condoms: These are like a nightmare for your septic system. They can cause major system malfunctions, such as back-up and clogging. It’s definitely worth taking the time to dispose of these in the garbage.
- Diapers: Seems natural right? Something filled with stinky poo should go right into the toilet? Wrong. Diapers are a major no-no for drain pipes and septic systems. They can cause immediate clogs and back-up and just hang out at the bottom of your septic tank.
- Cigarette Butts: These are in no way biodegradable and can float, which makes flushing them down a toilet or drain nearly impossibly.
- Coffee Grounds: These pose a two-part danger for your drain pipes and septic system. You know how when you take the filter full of coffee grounds out of the coffee maker, the grounds are fairly packed? Well, imagine that in your drain pipes and septic system tank. They can build-up in the drain pipes causing clogs as well as build up at the bottom of a septic tank. And unfortunately they are not affected by the bacteria in the system, so they’ll just stay there in a lump.
- Cat Litter: This one is really tempting, we know. It’s so much easier and cleaner to just scoop and flush. But don’t, it’s that simple. Cat litter can become hardened, somewhat like concrete, and cause major damage and clogs in your system. Garbage only for this one.
- Paper Towels and Tissues: Though they can come in handy in a pinch, paper towels, tissues or other non-toilet paper wipes should not be flushed down a toilet or drain. This can get caught in the toilet trap or drain pipe, causing clogs.
- Bleach/Chlorine: With very limited use, following manufacturers instructions, regular household bleach can be used but sparingly. Any bleach or chlorine product can damage the ecosystem in your septic. It will kill the much needed bacteria, which you want to avoid.
So remember, you really want to flush as little as possible into your septic system, to avoid clogs, back-ups and even damage to your system. Also, the more solids you put into your tank, the more often you’ll have to pump!
When you follow these simple guidelines, your septic system will thank you for years to come!