Septic System Advice from CNJ’s Trusted Local Septic Expert

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Taking care of yourself & family while we all remain on a state-wide quarantine is very important. But what about taking care of your septic system? Why? You ask…
Since we have all been on the Covid-19 quarantine, resulting in being homebound, your septic system is getting used much more frequently, possibly even over-used if you have extra family members staying with you. Your septic system may even become a “garbage can” for debris that is NOT normally used in the household (such as plastic gloves, masks, over-usage of toilet paper, and heavy cleaning/disinfecting products), all of which will result in heavy accumulated solids, and issues with your septic system. All these items, and more, can clog your septic system & interior plumbing/pipework. This causes concerns inside your home with effluent (wastewater) backups and clogged drains, and/or outside with blocked pipework.

Can we keep our Septic System healthy at this time? A Green Septic Systems?
Yes, it can easily be done. Your home septic system is composed of only two basic components: A septic tank and a disposal area. Each is an integral function in the treatment & disposal of domestic wastewater resulting from laundry and bathing, kitchen wastes and body wastes. This relatively simple system of wastewa-ter renovation can effectively remove disease-causing pathogens and chemical nutrients from domestic wastewater from your home when properly designed, constructed, operated and maintained. So how do you properly maintain an existing septic system? THINK GREEN!
Sewage which enters the septic tank is retained for a short time during which it breaks down into scum, sludge and liquid effluent. Most solid matter will settle to the bottom as sludge while buoyant grease, fats and hair will float to the surface and form a scum layer. Between these two layers is a clear liquid effluent which drains into the disposal area. The solids in the tank will be digested and converted into gases by microorganisms such as bacteria. This bacterium needs a “green” environment to function & do their job properly. That is where you as the homeowner come in to keep these bacteria happy & healthy.
Refrain from disposal of items that are not flushable or bio-degradable down your drains. This can result in pipe work damage (remember plumbing pipe work is only a few inches in diameter) or clogged lines. Only waste that exists your body (and 1 ply biodegradable toilet paper) should go into your toilet and only wash water should go down the drains.

• Don’t send bacteria-killing toxins down the drain. These include: Drain cleaners, antibacterial soaps, disinfectants, bleaches-whiteners, discarded medications and the worse one-paint! This clog both the septic tank & disposal area.
• Don’t send anything down the drain that can’t be broken down. It will clog the disposal area and/or the interior pipework. Cooking grease/oils (called “fatbergs” when clumped together), cigarette butts, paints, coffee grinds, cat litter, dental floss, condoms and feminine products etc.
• Don’t install a garbage disposal. If you already have one use it sparingly or disconnect it.
• Keep your water softener backwash (wsbw) out of septic system. WSBW should be disposed of on the property in accordance with NJDEP rules (NJAC 7:9A)

NON-DEGRADABLES: Grease, disposable diapers, plastics, cigarettes, baby wipes, feminine products, latex condoms, cat litter, cotton balls/swabs, dental floss, medications/vitamins, lint and hair, etc.
POISONS: Gasoline, oil, paint thinner, paint, pesticides, antifreeze, bleach, mop water, drain cleaners.
Try these green-cleaning items from your pantry or medicine cabinet or buy products that are safe for the environment like Simply Green, Mrs. Meyers or Method cleansers/products.
Try these helpful hints for using five non-toxic cleaners:

  1. Vinegar: Cleaning glass: Use it like a store-bought spray. Removing soap & or hard-water build-up: Put tissues over the stained area; pour vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes; scrub, rinse and buff dry with soft cloth.
  2. Baking Soda: For banishing stinky odors: Sprinkle a few tablespoons into sneakers or empty gym bags, leave overnight, and then shake out excess in am. Pour a liberal amount in trash can before putting a new bag in.
  3. Three Percent Hydrogen Peroxide: For killing mildew on tiles and cleaning plastic cutting boards: Pour enough to cover area, let sit ½ hour, scrub, rinse and dry.
  4. Isopropyl Alcohol: For erasing fingerprints from chrome & stainless steel and cleaning cell phones (but not their screens) wipe with an alcohol-dampened microfiber cloth.
  5. Salt: For scrubbing gunk off wooden cutting boards, glass baking dishes and pet bowls: Sprinkle a healthy amount on a damp sponge, scrub, rinse off & wipe dry.

Thinking and acting green can be less expensive and better for the environment, our families and pets. Many people call a septic company when it is too late. They call after things start to smell, frequent backups or the ground gets soggy over the absorption (drain field) area. By then, it’s usually too late, your septic system is malfunctioning (not draining correctly) and repair and/or replacement is in the near future. And contrary to major advertising, no amount of additives can save it.

Preventative maintenance is very important! An “install and forget” mentality will get you in the long run. All septic systems will malfunction sooner than later without proper care. Preventative maintenance will extend the life of your septic system. Septic systems have a lifespan. A traditional, year-round used septic system will last approx. 15-20 years as long as it is properly designed, installed and maintained.

A-Norton Septic Contracting