Whether you're a new green-living convert or you're an old hand at being green but a newbie when it comes to septic systems, you're probably wondering how the two concepts intersect. And while the idea of having a huge tank of wastewater in your yard may not sound green, septic can actually be better for the earth than some sewer systems if done well.
Here are five septic management tips for eco-friendly septic system use.
1. Take Responsibility for What Goes Down the Drain
Thinking about what you put down the drains and the toilet is a good habit for anyone who owns a septic tank. But if you want an eco-friendly septic system, you need to also think about what the septic tank can process and what it can't.
If you flush motor oil, chemicals, and other hazardous non-human-waste products, you could end up polluting the ground around your house. Instead, be sure to take these to a hazardous waste facility.
2. Choose Green Cleaning
You may have heard that septic tanks use bacteria to help process waste. Because this is the case, anything that kills bacteria can have a detrimental effect on the tank's function. So for example, if you clean your toilet by dumping a lot of bleach in the bowl, that bleach will make its way to the septic tank and start killing off the bacteria that the tank needs.
If you don't want to switch to all green cleaning, start by choosing green toilet, bathtub, shower, and sink cleaners.
3. Keep Tree Roots Out of the Picture
Tree roots are bad for your septic system's effectiveness and function, its structural integrity, and its eco-friendliness. Once a tree root has infiltrated the system, it can allow untreated water to escape, which can potentially pollute the area. And once the tree roots are inside, they're likely to grow until they block the pipes, causing backups and even more contamination.
In addition, roots can be quite insidious; by the time you realize you have a problem, you may need to replace significant portions of your leach field. This involves a lot of disturbance of the surrounding area.
So keep all your trees as far away from all parts of your plumbing and septic as you can. The rule of thumb is that all trees should be at least as far away as their expected mature height when fully grown. For trees whose roots tend to spread a lot or trees whose roots are very greedy and water-sensing, increase the distance even more.
4. Reduce Household Water Waste
An overwhelmed septic system can actually cause flooding in your yard and contaminate the surrounding area with sewage. This would be quite bad for local ecosystems and unhealthy for your family as well. Reducing the amount of water you send down the drains can help you avoid overwhelming your system. Some easy ways to reduce waste as a family include:
- Placing a bucket in the shower to catch the warm-up water before you hop in, then using that water to flush the toilet later
- Installing low-flow shower and faucet heads - which are very affordable - or even just low-flow faucet aerators - which are even more affordable
- Choosing Energy Star and WaterSense certified appliances and fixtures whenever you need to replace something
- Turning the faucet off while brushing teeth and scrubbing hands
- Repairing all leaks and drips immediately
- Only running the clothes washer and dishwasher when they're full
If you want a slightly more involved project, you can look into redirecting the gray water from your washing machine to irrigate your landscaping (non-edible plants only). Check your local ordinances for limitations on gray water use.
5. Choose a Green Installation or Servicing Company
The more eco-conscious your septic pumping contractor is, the more tips you may gain for continued ecofriendly septic use. And because your septic contractor is your partner in caring for your septic system, choosing a company that shares your eco-friendly goals just makes sense.
These five tips will help your septic system use match your green lifestyle. For more information about septic tank services and pumping, get in touch with Speedy Clean Drain & Sewer today.