We asked our team here at Heritage Plumbing what tips they would like to give to our customers to keep a healthy septic system. We got the following response…
It doesn’t matter if you have a septic system or you’re on a city sewer system, the following items should never be flushed down the toilet:
- Wipes of any kind – Cleaning wipes, baby wipes or paper towels… Even if they say “Flush able” they are not flush-able. Trust me on this. We pull more wipes and paper towels from clogged drains than anything else.
- Sanitary napkins, diapers, tampons, cotton balls or cotton swabs – These items are absorbent… Super absorbent and they will continue to absorb and grow. They do not break down easily and get caught in the bends of pipes and cause terrible backups.
- Fats, Oils and Grease – I know it’s a liquid when you pour it down the drain, but as soon as it hits the cool water it congeals and hardens. This creates a pipe clogging waxy mess. Ever hear the phrase “Oil and water don’t mix”? Drain your cooking fats into a separate container and toss it in the garbage.
- Rubber Gloves, Band-Aids or Prophylactics – Flushing these items may seem the most sanitary way to dispose of these when they are soiled. Please don’t do it. They need to go in your trash can. These items easily get caught in pipes. The also never break down which causes countless numbers of problems in your septic system and water treatment facilities.
- Cigarette Butts and Prescription Medication – These items, when flushed, contaminate ground water supply, destroy good bacteria, release toxins and can adversely affect wildlife.
- Dental Floss – It seems innocent enough, right? Wrong. It’s plastic which means it’s not biodegradable. Once it has been flushed it wraps its self around other objects, which can create a very large clog in no time at all.
- Kitty Litter – Even scoopable kitty litter. Kitty litter is made up of clay and sand. When the clay and sand gets wet, it hardens into a ball which makes it easy for you to clean up after your pet. When you flush that sand and clay down your toilet, it remains hard. Would you flush rocks down your toilet?
The key to keeping a healthy septic system is to maintain it properly. Follow our advice above and get regular inspections and pumping. You may also want to use a biological maintainer like ENDURE, to keep your drain lines, septic system and grease traps running smoothly. You should be able to get many years from your existing septic system. For more information, you can download this document, A Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems presented by the EPA.