Septic Systems - Operating and Maintaining
A septic system is a very effective way to safely recycle household black and grey waste water back into our natural environment. A soil treatment bed will remove all pathogens and most of the nutrients contained in the waste water if it is properly designed, installed, operated and maintained.
“Operated and maintained ” translates as: everything we do or put into our septic system.
To achieve proper waste water treatment, a septic system is absolutely dependent on millions of naturally occurring bacteria throughout the system. We add many of these good bacteria through the wastes and materials typically found in our waste water. Anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank decompose organic materials in the waste water and aerobic bacteria in the soil destroy disease-causing pathogens.
Use of Antibacterial/Disinfectant’ Products
The use of antibacterial or ‘disinfectant’ products in the home will destroy good and bad bacteria in the treatment system. Normal use amounts of these products will destroy some beneficial bacteria but the population will remain sufficient and recover quickly enough to not cause significant treatment problems. Excessive use of these products in the home however can cause significant and even total destruction of the population. Questions like ‘how antibacterial is antibacterial?’ and ‘which products are better or worse than others?' are good questions. See Lake Living/Green Products - Best Products and Where to Buy
What antibacterial products we are talking about?
They include: ‘antibacterial’ hand soaps, tub, tile and shower cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, laundry bleach products, and others. All very common in households.
Moderation or Avoidance?
It's really a personal decision with respect to which products you might use. At best most experts advocate for avoidance entirely of any antibacterial products. With careful moderation rare use of these products will not likely impact. Avoidance however is more certain.
To improve septic system performance:
A Note on Bacterial Septic Treatments
All of the practices above will work toward preventing the loss of beneficial bacteria throughout the septic system. Bacterial additives (enzymes, starters) are not necessary and will not compensate for excessive use of antibacterial products. if you are having bacterial problems with your septic system, the benefit of additives will be short lived if your operating and maintaining your system improperly.
How will I know if I have a bacterial problem in my system?
The problem is you may not until it's too late. That's why operating and maintaining your system is so important. Two important signs to be on the look-out for are: