Need assistance or advice with a product or lead time? Call our friendly Customer Services Team on 0117 244 4099 for expert help.....oh and don't forget we price match on most products!
Septic tanks are an essential part of a sewage system for properties that cannot be connected to mains sewage systems for whatever reason. If this is the case, septic tanks are used during the process of transporting sewage and wastewater away from the building, breaking down the sewage, and then disposing of the effluent into a local drainage field.
Septic tank systems collect all of the wastewater from a household, including sewage from the toilets, water drained from showers and baths, washing machines, dishwashers, and the water that is drained through the sink plugholes. This means that there are all sorts of substances that go through the septic system, including substances such as cleaning products, shampoos, food waste, and other liquids.
Bacteria within the Septic Tank
When the waste passes into the septic tank, it interacts with the natural bacteria that is kept within it. These bacteria then begin to break down the waste, separating it out into harmless water, sludge, and gases. The gases then leave the tank through a ventilation system, the harmless water drains out into a drainage area, and the sludge sinks to the bottom of the tank. A septic tank should be emptied of this sludge regularly to ensure that it is kept in good working order.
In order for the bacteria to work in the septic tank, it is important that their environment is kept optimal for them to work properly and thrive. One of the ways that this can be done is by being careful about what chemicals are put through the septic tank system – and therefore that goes into the tank.
With the wrong balance of bacteria, the septic tank can be dysfunctional and cause problems in the processing of waste, affecting how effectively it can purify the wastewater.
Unsafe Chemicals for a Septic Tank
Generally speaking, you should remember that any chemicals that kill bacteria are not going to be safe for your septic tank – not only will they kill the bacteria in your home, but they can also kill the bacteria within the tank, making it ineffective. It is also important to remember that some chemicals might not be broken down properly by the bacteria, meaning that they can sometimes be drained along with the water into the local area.
Whether you are looking to get rid of certain substances or are using them for cleaning purposes, some chemicals should never be flushed through a septic tank system. These include:
Antibiotics – Medications such as antibiotics are designed to kill infections and bacteria within the body – and within a septic tank. If you need to dispose of antibiotics, you should look at other ways of doing this. This is especially critical if you have a nursing home or hospital that uses a septic tank system to deal with its sewage and wastewater.
Chlorine – Chlorine is the main component in many household bleaches. It is a popular chemical that is used to disinfect and thoroughly clean household equipment, surfaces, bathrooms, toilets, and basins. It is also very effective at killing bacteria. If you have a septic tank system, therefore, you should avoid using chlorine-based bleach for cleaning.
Fat and grease – Avoid putting fats and grease through your system as they can clog up pipes as well as not be broken down within the septic tank.
Hydrochloric Acid – Some people use hydrochloric acid to help to unblock their sewage systems. This is, however, a very dangerous chemical to have around, and even its fumes can cause problems for people if they are inhaled. If you need to unclog pipes, look for a chemical that is organic and as natural as possible.
Paint – Latex and oil-based paint can upset the delicate balance of bacteria in a septic tank system. They not only affect the bacteria but cannot be broken down within the tank.
Pesticides – Pesticides can damage not only the bacteria within a septic tank system but also people who are close to them. Many pesticides can contain chemicals such as carbamate, DDD, DDE, and metam sodium, which can also be dangerous to people if they are ingested.
Petrol – Petrol can badly affect the balance of the nutrients in the surrounding soil. This means that plants will not grow there and can sometimes kill the plants that are already growing.
White Spirit – White spirit and other paint thinners can also be very damaging to the environment in the drain field, so you should avoid putting them into your septic tank system.
As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to cleaning and unblocking pipes and drains, the best substances to use are ones that are as natural as possible, and preferably organic.
Some substances that are safe to use in these systems include baking soda, lemon juice, Epsom salt, and sodium borate.
If in doubt, check the label and always use products which are septic tank friendly.