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What Does Your Septic Tank Do?

Septic tanks are compartmentalized into different parts. There is a watertight box that holds all the floating materials, clear water, and of course, the thick slug that accumulates at the bottom of this tank. It is designed so that only the clear water is able to escape the tank.

However, when the tank doesn’t work properly, the bacteria and sludge that it contains can exit the tank. This is where you will start to experience septic system problems and it is not an easy one to fix. This issue is horrible for the environment and can cause other clogs throughout your commercial or home septic system. However, there is a way to get ahead of this mess and avoid septic system problems.

Care for your tank well before the issue begins to occur!

If cared for properly, a septic tank can and will last for years without needing maintenance or repairs. The key thing to note is that bacteria is the most important part of keeping your septic tank healthy. The anaerobic breakdown of human waste is essential and vital to keep your tank operating the way it should. Pouring toxins down your drain can kill these organisms and harm your septic system. Whether you are at the kitchen sink, bathtub, or utility sink, avoid using chemical drain clearing agents to treat a clogged drain. Instead, use boiling water or a drain snake. Never pour cooking oil or grease down the drain. Never pour oil-based paints, solvents, or large volumes of toxic cleaners down the drain. Even latex paint waste should be minimized. Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal. This will significantly reduce the number of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic tank and ultimately clog its drain-field.

Will Drano Hurt Septic Tanks?

All Drano products are made safe for septic systems. Drano is a great drain cleaner that will react best with the bacterial action of a septic system. Therefore, Drano is safe to use in your pipes and toilets. However, it is important to be sure that you are not using a knock off Drano product (and follow the instructions closely to ensure proper use). Using Drano frequently will assist in the break down of toiler paper and other matter in contained in the septic tank. Getting ahead of any issues with your septic tank by caring for it in advance will ensure your tank a longer life and less maintenance.

Will Tampons Clog A Septic Tank?

Lets start with the bottom line: toilets are not our trash cans! But we seem to think if it flushes, it is safe to dispose of down the toilet. This is NOT the way you want to treat your septic system. So, as far as tampons go, you should never flush them!  Never flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper. Here is a list of some items that can and will destroy your septic system. Never flush:

  • Cooking grease or oil
  • Condoms
  • Photographic solutions
  • Baby wipes or flushable wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Floss
  • Cat liter
  • Paper towels
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Diapers
  • Coffee grounds
  • Chemicals including gasoline, pesticides, oil, and paint or paint thinners
  • Antifreeze (it destroys the good bacteria in your septic tank)

Staying Ahead of A Septic Problem

On average, a septic system should undergo maintenance, at the very least, every three years. This inspection should be done by a professional that understands what they are looking at. When it comes to the headache of addressing your tank, AAA City Plumbing is the company to call!

There are other alternative systems on the market that contain electrical pumps and mechanical components. Many prefer these systems to avoid septic problems, however, electrical septic systems must be inspected at least once a year. A service contract with your professional plumbers is a necessity, due to the fact that these alternative systems have mechanized and electrical parts.

Who To Call When Your Tank Goes South

When hiring a plumbing company that services septic tanks, the technician will often focus on searching for leaks in the tank or examine the sludge layers. Make sure that if this information is recorded, keep it on file for the companie’s next visit. Keep maintenance records on work performed on your septic system. The tank itself includes an outlet that prevents scum from leaving the tank and ending up in the drain-field. Therefore it is important to note how thick the scum layer is.

If the bottom of your tank is near six inches thick or the top is about twelve inches, it is time for your tank to be pumped and cleaned. Keep track of these numbers just in case! Again, keeping a close eye on your systems conditions will help avoid septic tank problems in the future. Plumbing companies like AAA City Plumbing will be happy to keep a record of your tanks sludge. However, it is a good idea to keep a reminder of when to reach out to your neighborhood septic system service professional. In addition to handling maintenance and repairs on your septic system, we also have experts available to help with installing septic systems. Finally, it is important to remember that when reaching out to a plumbing company, make sure they employ only licensed, bonded, and insured technicians.


For more answers to your septic system service questions, be sure to read part 1, part 2, and part 3 of our 4 part series.

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