Have your ever lived in a home with a septic system? In the United States, about 25 percent of homes rely on septic tanks for their wastewater system, according to Growing Blue, an organization focused on local and global water challenges.
Septic tanks come with pros and cons, but if you know how to best maintain your system without abusing it, the pros can definitely outweigh the cons.
Septic Tank Positives
Durability: Septic tanks can be made of steel or of concrete, two very durable materials. These tanks rarely have to be fully replaced as long as they’re not abused and properly maintained. Septic tanks can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years before needing replacement.
Lower Cost: Septic tanks are generally cheaper to install and repair than other wastewater systems that require more tools and materials to assemble.
Less Pollution: Water pollution is common with wastewater systems like sewer lines. These systems often leak sewage into the groundwater leading to contamination. When you have a septic tank, all bacteria and solid waste are separated from water, so it’s rare for a septic owner to be contributing to pollution.
Septic Tank Negatives
Requires Maintenance: Your septic tank requires periodic maintenance and care. This might seem annoying at first, but it really doesn’t take much effort. Your tank should be pumped every 3-5 years or so.
Clogs: Since your septic tank is a tank of waste, it can eventually become too full and result in a clog if it's over-flushed regularly. You should only be flushing when needed. Hair, food, grease, foreign objects and other kinds of paper (i.e., paper towels) should never be flushed.
If you do find yourself with a septic tank clog, don’t rush to pumping out your tank. Using a septic maintenance product that contains digestive enzymes should do the trick on simple clogs. A product like Septic Blast will digest organic matter clogging your tank without disrupting the natural balance. For regular maintenance of your tank, try a product like Septic Saver, which contains a six-month supply of a specialized septic tank maintenance formula that makes having a septic tank a piece of cake.
Just be sure to avoid caustic chemicals like bleach or lye, which can do more harm than good on the materials that make up your septic system.