Sanitary Insanity: Tampons and Your Septic System

Sanitary Insanity: Tampons and Your Septic System

With few exceptions, every public restroom – especially those connected to septic systems — has posted signs pleading women NOT to flush their feminine products down the toilet. Waste bins with sanitary paper liners are typically provided for disposing of these products, and yet, most women, if they’re being honest, will admit to flushing these products rather regularly, despite the warnings. Flushing these items creates significant issues for public sewage systems, and for your private septic system, the issues are even more significant and could lead to catastrophic system failure.

Non-biodegradable Biodegrading

Sanitary Insanity: Tampons and Your Septic SystemMost feminine hygiene products boast the merits of being biodegradable and, thus, environmentally friendly. And while it is true that products composed of 100% cotton will, in time, break down and be “consumable” by the Earth, these products are not designed to break down in water in a short enough time-frame to prevent them from creating major issues for your septic system. The most common side effect associated with flushing feminine products – tampons and especially pads – into your septic system is causing your septic tank to become full more quickly, requiring you to pump your system out much more frequently than you would expect. Untended, your full septic tank will begin backing up into your house or, worse, allowing solids to pass through into your secondary treatment, which can lead you to have to replace your entire system. And remember, even though some are made of paper, even tampon applicators will pile up in the bottom of your septic tank and lead to a clogged system.

Cotton Clogs – A Plumbing Nightmare

Aside from the issues feminine hygiene products create inside your septic system, they can lead to nightmare plumbing problems before they ever reach your system. Similar to the tangling properties of dental floss, tampons become easily entangled with each other and other items flushed down the toilet, creating a nightmare knot only a skilled plumber can untangle.

When it comes to the question of whether you should flush it or not, always remember our tips on the care and feeding of your septic system!