Are Septic Systems Good for the Environment?

First of all, a septic system is a natural water treatment system. Therefore it’s used particularly in rural areas that lack centralized sewage structures. It consists of a septic tank made out of concrete, plastic, or fiberglass that collects sewage. This sewage goes through anaerobic processes. After it’s treated, the clean water seeps into the aquifer and the groundwater.

As far as their impact is concerned, septic tanks are good for the environment. They eliminate waste, recycle water and naturally replenish water tables. It is beneficial for the surrounding vegetation and wildlife as well. In addition to this, septic tanks are a much more affordable option than installing a complete sewage system. The overall cost of designing, installing, and maintaining a septic system is lower than that of a public sewage system. With timely and suitable maintenance, a septic system can last anywhere between 20 to 40 years!

Septic tank

That being said, they must be well designed and properly installed to do so. A poorly constructed and unmaintained septic tank will fail in a few years and lead to several issues. From overflowing sewage to foul smell, a failed septic system will cause obvious property damage.

It will also ruin the aesthetic appeal of the property. So backed-up plumbing and stagnant sewage will put the entire plumbing system at risk. Thus, making the property inhabitable. Neglecting regular cleaning and maintenance of septic tanks is harmful to the environment as well. It can pollute the surrounding groundwater and cause health concerns for people, livestock, and wildlife. Let’s take a look at the ways to ensure septic tanks function properly and have a positive impact on the environment.

Sign up for routine maintenance

You might not be qualified to check the efficiency of your septic tank. That is why it’s crucial to involve a professional to check and maintain septic systems routinely. Routine maintenance is essential to prolong the life of a septic tank.

Pump your septic tank regularly

The need to pump a septic tank entirely depends on the size of the tank and the amount of water usage. But generally, the more water you use, the greater the pumping requirements. Most experts suggest pumping septic tanks once every 3-5 years.

Maintain tank records

Septic tank design differs for different homes and businesses. It would be helpful to maintain all the system plans and records of your system to determine maintenance requirements in the future. These records will also come in handy for easily locating your septic tank.

Use eco-friendly laundry products

You should ideally use biodegradable products for doing laundry. Non-biodegradable laundry products produce suds, which can block the system.

Limit water softeners

Be careful with using water softeners. Certain water softeners can produce too much brine and adversely impact your septic tank’s function. Stick to a high-quality water softener to improve the performance of your septic tank.

Use water consciously

For the longevity of your septic tank, it’s best to use as little water as possible. Using water consciously will ensure that your septic tank is not overloaded. Otherwise, untreated water can seep into your drain field. To limit water use, install water-efficient bathroom fixtures and avoid doing big loads of laundry at once.

Reconsider landscaping options

It’s important to make the right landscaping choices to hide your septic tank effectively. Any shallow root grass is a smart option in order to keep the tank cover easily accessible for regular maintenance. It would be suitable to keep long-rooted trees and shrubs at least 25 feet from the drain field.

Don’t flush everything

Don’t flush everything and anything down your septic tank. Even in the case of toilet paper, only flush undyed and non-quilted toilet paper. Otherwise, the bacteria won’t be able to break down the waste easily.

Avoid draining cleaning chemicals

Non-biodegradable floor and drain cleaners including antibacterial, chlorine, methylisothiazolinone products. Such cleaners will kill the beneficial bacteria and hamper your septic tank’s function. Always choose 100% natural and biodegradable home cleaning products.

Don’t use additives

Septic tank additives do more harm than good. Additives often contain chemicals that can be corrosive to the tank. Frequently using them can create cracks and damage the pipes. Moreover, they can kill good bacteria and pollute the soil in your drain field.

Never flush oil & grease

Pouring any form of oil, fat, or grease can clog the system and make the waste breakdown process difficult for the bacteria.

Separate food waste

Doubling up your septic tank as garbage disposal will increase your maintenance cost. It would be better to separate your solid food waste and throw it in the garbage.

The Bottom Line

Septic tanks are an excellent solution to replenish the depleting water tables. As every septic system is different, we would suggest you consult a professional for cleaning, pumping, and maintenance.

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