Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cleaners and Septic Systems:
Groundwater and Bacteria

According to the EPA 1 in 4 households in the USA have septic systems. These waste water systems can provide safe and effective disposal of waste water. These systems rely on bacteria to break down the solid waste that is produced by households. What happens is water flows into the septic tank, sludge and solids sink to the bottom and oil and chemicals form a scum at the top of the tank. Most of the water and sludge is broken down by the bacteria living in the tank creating water that is cleaner than when it came in. Thereby protecting the environment and groundwater.   

What happens to the beneficial bacteria and groundwater when chemicals and cleaners are introduced to the system? Below is a list of what types of chemicals and their amounts that are safe to use in septic systems.                           

Disinfectants:


Considered safe if consumer follows the instructions on the label. 
Hypochlorite bleach: It would take 2 gallons to kill the bacteria in a 1,000 gallon septic system.
Pine Cleaner: It would take 5 gallons to kill the bacteria in a 1,000 gallon septic system.

Drain Cleaner: 



These are the most corrosive chemicals found in most homes. It only takes 0.65 ounces of crystal drain cleaner to kill the bacteria in a 1,000 gallon septic system.

Surfactants:




These fall in the category of  soaps and detergents. These types of chemicals are deemed safe for septic systems and groundwater.

Solvents:



These chemicals pose more of a danger to the environment and the groundwater and not so much the bacteria in septic systems. These are fuels, motor oils, antifreeze, solvent-based lubricants, and lawn or garden chemicals such as pesticides. 

Guidelines for maintaining a properly functioning septic system

  • Reduce sludge build-up in your septic system by having it pumped regularly (every 3-5 years).
  • Reduce wastewater inputs to the septic system by installing low-flow water fixtures in your home and conserving water (unless flushing household products down the drain).
  • Avoiding pouring large amounts of household products and other chemicals down your drain at the same time. When disposal down the drain is necessary, always flush with plenty of water and do not mix products together (toxic gases might be formed).
  • Do not use solvent-based septic tank additives or other products to enhance the normal function of your septic tank.
  • Always read the label carefully for all household products. Note the active ingredient(s) and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper use, storage and disposal.

Conclusion:

  • Follow the instructions and dilution tables on manufacturers labels when using cleaners. 
  • Use natural alternatives.
  • Use bacteria safe cleaners.
  • Do not dump solvent based cleaners down the drain or toilet. 
By following the guidelines above you can safely use and dispose of most household cleaners. You will keep the good bacteria safe and will protect the ground water from chemical pollution.  


http://cfpub.epa.gov/owm/septic/index.cfm


6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info! I've never known what to do or where to start when it comes to septic tank cleaning. Things haven't gotten backed up but when they do I will have to follow these tips.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. Leather Magic’s leather solvent cleaner is used to remove the manufactures finish from the leather. It also removes any solvent soluble waxes, oils and silicone. Which unless removed will cause problems for your leather colorant to adhere correctly.
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  4. It's good to have a write ups like this on how to clean septic systems and how to manage and take some tips from your post.. Nice


    Pumping Septic Tank 

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