Septic Tank Maintenance - How To Retain The Helpful Bacteria

If you have a septic tank on your property that holds the sewage wastes produced within your home, then you should invest in a septic tank pumping about every three to five years.  The pumping should be completed by a professional to reduce spill and septic tank damage concerns.  Once the pumping is completed, you should do everything in your power to make sure that the bacterial colony within the septic tank remains intact.  The bacteria help to break down organic matter so the septic tank does not fill up as quickly.  Follow the tips below to make sure the bacteria remain in your septic system.

Reduce the use of Antibacterial Cleaners

Many homeowners use antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, and cleaning products within the home for sanitation purposes.  Unfortunately, all of these products can harm your septic system when you flush them down your drain.  The products, along with strong chemicals like bleach and ammonia, will systematically destroy the bacterial colony within your tank over time.  

Fortunately, most surfaces within the home do not require advanced sterilization methods.  This means that you can greatly reduce the use of the chemicals in your home unless you are cleaning surfaces that have been exposed to raw chicken or other types of meat.  Also, bleach and other antibacterial products are important to use when cleaning up fecal matter.

Cleaner Alternatives

Almost all other surfaces in the home can be cleaned with soap.  Regular dish soap is ideal for home cleaning, because the act of scrubbing with the soap is enough to dislodge any harmful bacteria.  Also, regular soap to clean the hands is ideal, because antibacterial agents can actually allow the strongest and most hearty bacteria to remain.  Not only will the ingredients destroy the bacteria in your septic system, but you will be creating an unhealthy environment in your house that leaves you much more susceptible to infection causing microorganisms.

If you typically use bleach to clean your clothing, consider adding lemon juice or essential lemon oil to your wash to whiten your fabrics.  Also, the natural rays of the sun can help whiten clothes if you hang them outside to dry.  If you use your bleach to kill bacteria in the wash, then consider using hot water instead.  Water temperature at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bacteria.  Set your water heater to this temperature and use the hot water to wash towels, underwear, and other soiled items.

Do Not Waste Water

When you flush your toilet, take a shower, or run your kitchen sink, the water flows down the drain and into your septic tank.  Any solids in the water sink to the bottom of the tank and clean water flows out through a pipe on the side of the tank.  The water then runs to the drainage field that is constructed on your property.  If too much water flows through the septic tank though, then the fluids can force the helpful bacteria out of the tank.

You can easily keep bacteria within the septic tank by reducing water waste.  Try to limit showers to about 20 or 30 minutes and do not leave the water on when you brush your teeth.  Also, consider investing in a low flow toilet and shower head.  If you are serious about reducing water waste, then  consider installing a greywater system in your house too.  This type of system will collect water from sinks, washing machines, bathtubs, and dishwashers.  The water is then treated and used to water your lawn and flowers.

If you have a septic tank, then regular pumping services are necessary.  You also need to maintain the septic system in between pumping appointments.  Retaining the helpful bacteria within the tank is one important thing you should do.


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