The secret sauce of a happy septic tank
So you think you know everything there is to know about septic tanks? If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, then it is likely you do. But a quick refresher of the basics never hurts, does it? And what is the most basic thing about a septic tank? Well, the fact that it goes in the ground. And while that is the most logically convenient location for a septic tank, it is not always great news for the environment.
Residences, building complexes, commercial establishments, hotels all use underground septic tanks to store and process water-borne waste. On the surface, septic tanks are simple structures that serve a single purpose. Go deeper however (please excuse the pun) and you notice septic tanks are a complex system of mechanical, chemical and biological components working together to keep the environment safe and also protect you from illnesses.
Domestic wastewater gets separated into sludge, oils and grease and liquid waste in septic tanks. The bulk of this work of waste separation (and onward processing too) is done by anaerobic microbes and other naturally-occurring bacteria. However, inefficient maintenance, compounded by dumping of excessive chemicals from all manners of sources, often affect the health of the septic tank. Apart from the economic consequences of this – damaged septic tank means more frequent pump-outs – is the environmental harm that this causes. An improperly maintained septic tank finds it difficult to process organic waste and to break down sludge. As a result, sludge keeps accumulating. And because waste is not processed properly, the wastewater that a septic tank discharges isn’t free of pathogenic contamination which then enter our water bodies from secondary treatment centers or because the septic tank itself releases them into groundwater.
This is neither friendly for the environment nor is this a desirable waste management outcome from a sustainability perspective. The solution is to maintain septic tanks optimally so they stay healthy and performing efficiently for longer.
Here are our tips to ensure that your septic tanks become sustainable sanitation superpowers.
It is true that septic tanks are meant to store and process wastewater. However, when you flush large amounts of water into them, it can be difficult for them to manage, resulting in leakages and overflows. Not only does this hamper functioning of the septic tank, it also leads to contaminants leaching into soil and groundwater. A simple hack to fix this is to reduce how much water you flush down your drains. Simple steps work. Don’t shower. Use bucket baths instead. Turn the taps off while brushing. Only run full loads of laundry in the washing machine. Don’t let dripping or leaking taps be. Fix them ASAP. Grow a garden so you can use gray water there.
Want to clean? Go green
One of the biggest sources for chemical contamination of septic tanks are the chemical-based solutions you use to clean your homes with. Not only do those chemicals leave you susceptible to a whole host of illnesses and cause active harm to the environment, when the wastewater from cleaning eventually reaches the septic tank, it wreaks havoc with the septic tank’s micro-flora, killing off all the good bacteria that actually keep your septic tank healthy. Switch to natural, plant-based cleaning solutions instead of the chemical cocktails you’ve been using all this while.
Don’t rush to flush
Our septic tanks become a repository for all kinds of waste we wash down our drains and toilets. Chemicals, paints, oils, cosmetic supplies… all of these invariably get flushed into our septic tanks. But they shouldn’t even be near a septic tank. Septic tanks are designed to degrade organic waste, not chemicals.
Don’t let heavy metal settle
Often small metallic objects – pins, clips, and the like – also make their way into septic tanks because they are watered down drains and toilets. Stop. These can clog septic tanks very badly. An even worse culprit are batteries. Batteries are hazardous waste that need to be disposed of responsibly. Flushing them into your septic tank is not the definition of responsible.
Give that root the boot
When installing septic tanks, make sure you don’t locate them around tree roots. The thing about roots is that they grow. And a growing root can easily puncture your septic tank, allowing untreated waste to leach out, polluting soil and water. Tree roots can also cause blockages inside your septic tank, leading to backflows and pump-outs and even more contamination. Even if you didn’t have roots anywhere close to your septic tank, it is advisable to keep checking often so you don’t trip up unawares.
Use these tips to keep your septic tank healthy and happy. And when it needs that extra TLC, use Bioclean Septic, our revolutionary technological innovation for biological treatment of septic tanks. Bioclean Septic contains high enzyme producing bacteria that can completely degrade fecal matter, break down existing sludge and minimize its build up as well. Bioclean Septic also curbs foul odour and degrades organic blockages in drain pipes, gravel leach pits and porous stone walls, thus resolving your overflow and backflow issues too.