Chemical Lawn Treatments & Your Septic System

Chemical Lawn Treatment in hands
Chemical Lawn Treatment in hands

Every spring and fall, homeowners get busy treating their lawns for the upcoming season. We spread chemical lawn treatments – fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers – to help our lawns remain healthy and robust throughout the summer and winter months. If you’re a septic owner, you may worry about how these chemicals affect your system. When correctly applied, chemical lawn treatments are safe to use around your septic system. However, overapplication or flushing these chemical lawn treatments into your septic system can have catastrophic consequences. Follow these tips for safely using chemical lawn treatments around your septic system.

Are Chemical Lawn Treatments Harmful to Your Septic System?

When correctly applied, chemical lawn treatments are not harmful to your septic system. Fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers are designed to dissolve and be absorbed by the soil and underlying root structure of your lawn. None of the components of a septic system, including the tank and drainfield, should be able to come into contact with any treatments properly applied to the lawn’s surface. The septic tank is a sealed container with inlet pipes coming from the house and outlet pipes leading to the drainfield. The drainfield is a system of trenches buried anywhere from 2’-5’ in the soil, depending on the specific needs for the site. In order to safely apply chemical lawn treatments, be sure to follow the packaging directions carefully. This includes evaluating the soil quality as well as the specific needs for the plants you are treating. Dilution ratios, application timeframes, and instructions for properly disposing of excess chemicals should all be followed exactly.

How Chemical Lawn Treatments Can Cause Harm

How you dispose of unused chemical lawn treatments may harm your septic system. Very often, homeowners carefully follow packaging directions for mixing up a proper dilution, but then flush any leftover mixture down the sink. Unused portions of any chemical lawn treatment should never be flushed into the septic system. This includes undiluted (from the bag) and diluted portions of these chemicals. Flushing chemical lawn treatments into your septic system can lead to clogs in the inlet and outlet pipes as well as within the drainfield trenches. If flushed into your septic system, chemical lawn treatments will also destroy the bacteria in your tank, leading to an overwhelmed system, backups into your home, and possibly even catastrophic system failure. When deciding what to do with unused portions, we suggest first asking your neighbors to see if they can use them. If not, contact your local sanitation department to see about safely disposing of them.

Eco-Friendly Lawn Treatments

We understand the appeal of a lush, green lawn and full, robust greenery free of annoying and destructive insects. With that being said, chemical lawn treatments pose significant dangers for the environment and, when improperly disposed of, your septic system. There are many ways to achieve a gorgeous backyard without using chemical lawn treatments. First, landscape with plants that are native to Northeast Ohio. By selecting plants that naturally thrive in this region’s climate, you are reducing the need for chemical treatments to help them survive our seasons. Select a turfgrass that is well-suited for our climate, such as a blend of Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue. This blend requires minimal watering, thrives in sun and shade, and is not prone to pest issues. By seeding with a more robust turfgrass, you reduce the need for chemical lawn treatments to keep your yard green and plush. Aerating and dethatching your lawn is a great, chemical-free way to give the roots room to grow and adequate access to rainfall. Control weeds by pouring boiling water over them or using a homemade solution of vinegar, salt, and dish soap as an alternative to herbicides. Finally, to limit pests in your yard, use biological control to attract natural predators of your most annoying pests. For example, install a bat house or a birdhouse meant to attract purple martins to control the mosquito population rather than applying an insecticide.

If you have disposed of lawn treatment chemicals by flushing them into your septic system, it is important to schedule a service visit as soon as possible to limit the effects these chemicals will have on your system. Supeck Septic Services has been Northeast Ohio’s trusted septic provider for the past 52 years. We are licensed, bonded, and insured and can provide routine as well as emergency septic services. Contact us today to schedule your service visit!

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