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FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about what is and is not safe for your septic system. Have a question that’s not on the list? Give us a call, we’d be happy to help!

Are bath bombs safe for septic systems?

There are a wide variety of bath bombs available, all with varying ingredients. As always, we recommend “more natural products” when it comes to anything that goes down the drain. If you’re diligent and search out natural products, or even make your own, you should be fine to use bath bombs.

A typical bath bomb would often contain things like baking soda, citric acid, epsom salt, cornstarch, some sort of colouring pigment or dye, almond oil or other essential oils. None of these components, in normal volumes, concentrations, and usage amounts, should have a significant impact on your septic system.

Are water softeners bad for septic systems?

Water softeners have been a topic of contention for years when it comes to their effect on septic systems. Some people are concerned about pH being affected or the salt eroding or etching the tanks. The biggest effect a water softener, iron filter, or other filter has on most septic systems is that they introduce a large volume of water, sometimes up to 150 gallons or more, very quickly into the septic tank. This can cause unwanted mixing in the tank and will reduce the amount of time the contents of the tank are allowed to dwell in the tank for processing, before they’re pushed downstream and out to your drainfield.

One thing to keep in mind is the amount of salt you’re putting into the system. A good portion of the salt used will be consumed by the ion exchange reaction that removes hardness minerals and some metals from your water, but a lot of the salt passes through. This salt can form restrictive layers in your soil, causing the soil to lock up and reduce infiltration rates in the soil. Once the ground has that salt layer, it is permanently affected and at some point it simply may not allow water to pass through, causing problems at the surface.

Another big concern with water filtration would be chlorine injection systems. These can dump a large volume of relatively high-strength chlorinated water into your tank, causing problems for the bacterial cultures contained in them.

No “good” can come from directing the backwash from water softeners and water filtration equipment into the tank. In many cases it isn’t as bad as it is made out to be, but it is NEVER recommended to drain your system into the septic system.

Is drain cleaner safe for septic systems?

Wherever possible, we always recommend using as natural a product as possible. There are enzyme based cleaners that do a good job of clearing clogs. Harsh chemicals may work great on your pipes, but can damage septic tanks as well as the bacteria you NEED to be thriving in them for proper septic system operation. The best solution to a clogged drain is usually mechanical. Using a snake or an auger to clear blocked lines and accumulations of fat, oil and grease is preferable as that adds nothing harmful to the septic system. It may not be as convenient as dumping a bottle down the drain and hoping it works out, but it is ultimately the safest option for clearing blocked drain lines.

Can you use Flushable wipes with septic systems?

If there is one thing we have to fish out of septic pumps, filters and equipment more than anything, it is “flushable wipes.” These are simply NEVER a good idea to flush down the drain -and yes, this includes those labelled and marketed as “septic safe.” This one is always a no-no.

Is pine sol safe for septic systems?

Any disinfectant is something to worry about when it comes to your septic system. It is interesting to note that we often hear customers saying they feel uneasy, they feel like they’re polluting, if they dump their bleach or disinfectant products onto the soil in the bush — yet somehow they aren’t making the connection that emptying them down your drain is literally putting them into the soil. Given there is no difference in outcome, why risk harming the bacteria in your septic system?

Is regular CLR safe for septic systems

The main active ingredients of CLR are lactic acid and gluconic acid. In moderate amounts, used infrequently, these should not have an overall adverse reaction in the septic tank. That said, they can in no way help it. Our best recommendation would be to dump it into the bush where you know it cannot hurt your septic system, and ultimately get returned to nature just as it would be if you flushed it down the drain.

Can you put Kleenex in Septic Systems?

Kleenex (or any brand of facial tissue) does not break down easily. It should not be flushed down the drain, instead should be thrown out as you would paper towels. If you’re unsure about this and want to test it, take a facial tissue and lay it flat in your hand. Pour some water into it and cup your hand to “catch” the water. Watch to see whether the water dissolves or beads up on the tissue.

Are Detergents safe for septic systems?

The more natural the better when it comes to detergents. Detergents with harsh chemicals should be avoided when possible. The biggest factors when it comes to laundry are (1) spreading out your loads instead of having “laundry day” and doing several loads back to back, and (2) putting a filter on your washing machine outlet. Polyesters, nylon and other synthetic materials will rinse down the drain with other lint from the laundry cycle. These will never break down in your tank and should be captured with an inexpensive laundry filter available at most hardware stores and online.

What are the Best Laundry Detergents for Septic Systems

When it comes to cleaning products, we always recommend natural over “chemical” options. Some of the brands we have had good luck with would be Ecos, MealPower by Melaleuca,

Is ammonia safe for septic systems?

Ammonia is not considered a disinfectant, so it should not harm the bacteria in your septic system. The main concern with ammonia is introducing more nitrogen into the system, and affecting the chemical reactions which normally take place in your septic system. When used in moderation, ammonia can be considered safe for your septic system.

Are laundry pods safe for septic systems?

These are relatively new and their overall safety is currently unknown. The pod material in laundry pods and dishwasher detergent pods is designed to dissolve in the wash to release the detergent. The concern with these is that the plastic material may potentially return to solid form out in your drain field. As such, currently we cannot recommend pods for either washing machines or dishwashers.

Is Borax safe for septic systems?

Borax is a good non-toxic cleaning product that is considered septic friendly, at normal concentrations and usage amounts. Borax is considered a safe alternative that is less-harmful to the bacteria in your septic system.

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Our experienced technicians perform on-site assessments Monday – Friday between 8am – 4pm to confirm issues and propose solutions for any concerns or problems with your septic system. It is our pleasure to schedule a time for personal consultation at your property. After Hours & Weekend service is available on request. 

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