There are many essential elements to any household, including a properly functioning heating and cooling system, a sound roof overhead, and a healthy septic system. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not give their septic systems much thought due to several myths circulating about the care and maintenance of septic systems. So we set out to debunk some of the most common myths we hear regarding septic systems and their care.
Septic Myth #1: Septic Tanks Don’t Need Routine Maintenance
This is one of the most prominent and catastrophic myths circulating regarding the care and maintenance of septic tanks. The common misconception is that a septic system is designed to break down the solids and that disturbing the ecosystem of the septic system by having the tank pumped disturbs this efficient process. In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
This septic myth is completely FALSE. Routine maintenance is not only essential for the continued proper functioning and longevity of septic systems, but it is also now state law. In 2015, new rules regarding septic systems went into effect in the state of Ohio requiring local Health Departments to implement an Operation and Maintenance program and report their findings back to the Ohio Department of Health. Rules vary from county to county, but in most counties in the state, septic owners are required to maintain a service schedule with a licensed septic provider, like Supeck Septic, or be subject to an inspection (with associated fees) by the county Health Department. The reason for this is because the state recognized not maintaining a septic system, including having the tank pumped regularly, was one of the biggest reasons for septic system failure. As sludge builds up in the tank, more and more solids find their way into the drain field, and as the drain field becomes more clogged with solids, the system’s catastrophic failure is sure to follow.
Septic Myth #2: Additives, like Rid-X, Help Keep Systems Healthy
With the understanding that the bacterial ecosystem is integral to any properly functioning septic system, there are many tips and tricks for promoting the bacteria within a system. Included in these tips is flushing commercial additives, like Rix-X, into the system to increase the bacteria that break down the solids in the tank. In fact, many septic owners believe adding Rid-X monthly to their tanks prevents them from needing to have their tanks pumped. Rid-X claims to keep septic systems running smoothly between service visits, by introducing billions of bacteria and enzymes designed to break down the solids in the septic tank.
This septic myth is also completely FALSE. While it is true the ecosystem within a septic system is integral to the system’s overall efficiency, too much of a good thing can be catastrophically bad. In many cases, the bacteria introduced by these additives is far more aggressive, far more abundant than what naturally occurs within a healthily functioning septic system. Additives like Rid-X will break down the solids too far, allowing them to become suspended in the liquids that are filtered into the drain field. Unfortunately, the drain field is not intended to handle these solids and may become clogged, leading to the septic system’s failure.
Septic Myth #3: There’s No Such Thing as a “Flushable” Wipe
As more and more people become aware of what they should and shouldn’t flush into their septic systems, more and more companies are developing products specifically designed to break down in septic systems, including “septic safe” toilet paper and flushable wipes. However, many news outlets are putting forth the message that even “flushable” wipes are not safe to flush, despite newer products being introduced that are made from cellulous, the same thing that toilet paper is made from.
This septic myth is completely TRUE! Even in a recent study, wipes specifically designed to break down after being flushed did not pass the flush test. Any product that doesn’t readily break down, including feminine hygiene products, wipes, or even dental floss, poses potentially deadly risks for any septic system. First, these items may become lodged deep in a home’s plumbing system before they ever reach the septic holding tank. Such clogs can sometimes be mitigated by simply snaking out the drains; however, more severe clogs may require substantial and expensive plumbing repairs be completed. Once these “flushable” products make their way into a septic system, they collect at the bottom of the holding tank, adding to the layer of sludge. This not only leads to a septic system needing to be pumped more frequently, but it also increases the likelihood that solids will find their way into the drain field and cause whole system failure. If you are unsure whether a “flushable” product is really safe for your septic system, we recommend putting the product to the toilet tissue test to see just how long it takes to break down.
Is it time for your system to have a checkup? Contact Supeck Septic today to schedule a maintenance visit.