If you are like most homeowners, you probably never give much thought to what happens when waste goes down your drain. But if you rely on a septic system to treat and dispose of your household wastewater, what you don't know can hurt you.
When septic systems fail, inadequately treated household wastewater is released into the environment. Any contact with untreated human waste can pose a significant risk to public health. Bacteria and viruses from human waste can cause dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid fever. Untreated wastewater from failing septic systems can contaminate creeks, streams, lakes, nearby wells, groundwater, and drinking water sources.
Unfortunately, it happens very frequently throughout the Busseron Creek and Turtle Creek Watersheds. Most creeks and streams are polluted with unsafe levels of E. coli. By starting at home, we can make a difference.
Care and Feeding of a Septic System
Many residents of the Busseron Creek and Turtle Creek Watersheds are dependent upon private septic systems and it is important for them to remember that a septic system is not a trash can. As a general rule, if it's not biodegradable, don't dump it down the drain... because it won't break down in the septic system, either. A few examples of items that should not be flushed or drained:
Cigarette Butts Tampons or Contraceptives Coffee Grounds Grease
Because septic systems rely on bacteria to break down waste, care should be taken to avoid dumping of toxic chemicals or excessive use of antibacterial agents. Some examples include:
Nail Polish Remover Overuse of antibacterial soaps
And take it easy on the volume. System overload can be brought on by dumping large quantities of water at once, stirring tank solids and forcing them into the drain field, eventually causing it to fail. A little common sense goes a long way to insure that you don't overload your system
Cool and drain hot tub water onto turf areas.
Don't do all of your laundry in a single day. Some water softeners dump 100s of gallons of water into the system at once. Garbage disposals can increase the amounts of solids in the tank by 50%!