Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio clean water initiative has entered its pilot phase, aimed at reducing agricultural fertilizer and phosphorus runoff [link to farming grants blog], restructuring and creating wetlands, and addressing failing septic systems. Noted as having the most significant impact on Ohio’s water quality, these three areas will be H2Ohio’s focus for the remainder of this year.
For the past twenty years, Ohio has been dealing with a growing water contamination problem caused by algae blooms, leading to the creation of the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorous Task Force in 2007 and culminating in the Toledo Water Crisis of 2014. Since then, the state has taken a serious look at what is causing the algae blooms plaguing our water supply and have found agricultural runoff to be the biggest contributing factor.
4. Limit Water Usage
We always recommend conserving water as much as you can, but the need for limiting your household’s water usage is even greater in winter when the septic’s bacterium is under additional strain. During this time, it will take longer for solids to break down in your tank, and overwhelming the system with greywater can lead to a backup or overflow. Some simple ways of conserving water this winter include:
• Staggering major water-heavy chores, like laundry and running the dishwasher, so they do not occur on the same day. Ideally, you’d give your septic system a day of recovery between these chores. Make sure you’re filling your dishwasher and washing machine to capacity rather than running small loads.
• Taking a quick shower, using only 15 gallons or so of water, rather than a bath, which can use up to 60 gallons!
• Avoiding unnecessary toilet flushing. Even low-flow toilets flush an average of 1.3 gallons into your septic tank with every flush. If you have a family of four, each using the bathroom 6 or 7 times a day, you’re flushing more than 30 gallons of water into your septic tank each day. You can conserve a lot of water by only flushing when it’s necessary. We like to remind our customers, if it’s yellow let it mellow!
• Recycling water. One water conservation tip we don’t hear a lot about is the idea of recycling water within your home. For example, when you boil water for pasta, let it cool and use it to water your house plants. Not only does this keep water out of your septic system, but the added nutrients will be great for your plants! When washing dishes, collect the rinse water to use for washing your next sink full of dishes.
5. Educate Guests on Septic Systems
It is the time of year for hosting out-of-town guests, and unless they have septic systems of their own, they are likely unaware of the many items they cannot flush. Be sure to remind your guests not to flush things that won’t easily decompose, including flushable wipes. We recommend posting “Naughty and Nice” lists in the bathroom and kitchen. Particularly because guests may know not to flush certain sanitary items, but they may not be aware that things like coffee grounds, food solids, and greases should be disposed of in the garbage, not down the drain.
Is your septic system ready for winter? Contact us today to schedule a maintenance visit!
Spring and early summer is the prime time of year for cleaning up around your yard – readying flower beds, planting new foliage, gardening. When your green thumb grows this spring and summer, make sure you are using caution when it comes to the gardening and yardwork you do around your septic system. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of … Read More