Troubleshooting Septic Problems

Troubleshooting Septic Problems

Three Things Not To Do When Caring For Your Septic System

by Max Wagner

Since your septic system is the means by which your household wastewater gets treated and disposed of, it's vitally important that it is properly maintained. Here are three things you want to be careful not to do when it comes to caring for your septic system.

Don't Use Your Sink or Toilet as a Garbage Can

It may be tempting to dump the leftover grease from cooking down your sink or toilet, but this is not good for your septic system. Other things you don't want to dump include non-biodegradable items such as:

  • Cigarette butts
  • Feminine products
  • Diapers
  • Paper towels

You must also be careful of products, such as baby wipes, that are labeled "flushable." In New York City alone, these types of products cost the city $18 million worth of equipment problems in just five years. These and other non-biodegradable items will clog the pipes and cause damage to your plumbing. Other items that should never be dumped down the sink or toilet are medications and toxic chemicals, such as paint and solvents.

Don't Plant Just Any Kind of Tree Near Your Septic System

Planting certain kinds of trees too close to your septic system could cause the roots of the trees to clog your pipes or cause them to crack. Elm trees and other kinds of trees that have massive root systems should be planted at least 50 feet away from your septic system. 

Other trees like willows should be planted at least 100 feet from the septic system. If you plant fruit trees on or near your septic tank, the roots grow down into the water of the septic system, making the fruit unsafe to eat. Trees with smaller root systems such as Japanese maple and Flowering dogwood tend to be safer when planting near a septic system.

Don't Use Just Any Type of Septic Tank Additives

There are certain septic tank additives that have been allowed for use under title 5 services in the state of Massachusetts. It has been proven that only certain additives will not harm septic systems, nor will they have a negative effect on the environment. Some of the septic tank additives that can be used include:

  • ABS Formula 77
  • Aid-Ox
  • Bio-Pad Grease Trap Treatment
  • Drano Advanced Septic Treatment
  • Nature's Whey/Specific Enzyme Bacteria System

Currently, there are 133 additives that are allowed for use under Title 5. If the additive you want to use is not on this list, you shouldn't use it in your septic system.

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About Me

Troubleshooting Septic Problems

When we first purchased our home in the mountains, I had no idea what I was up against. Whenever we would visit, I was surprised to see and smell the way that the property had changed. I realized that the vacation home always smelled like sewage, and it was really worrisome. I knew that I needed to do something to make things right, so I started looking into the plumbing system. I discovered that we had a septic tank, and that it needed to be pumped. This blog is all about troubleshooting septic system problems so that you can keep your place clean and sanitary.