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Using Septic System Additives

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Recreation of Sludge Accumulation

One of the most common questions we receive from homeowners who want to care for their system is, “What should I put in my septic system?” Our answer is easy: “Nothing!”

Septic system snake oil

Our answer comes as a surprise to many people who have been told to add advertised septic products, yeast, raw meat, dog food, and the crazy list goes on; but the truth is, your system does a good job of running itself.

Every time you flush your commode, you are adding bacteria into your tank. It is a natural process, and the bacteria will quickly grow as long as you are not introducing chemicals to your system that may poison or kill it.

Now, if a septic company wants to sell you something to make an extra dollar after your tank has been pumped (or anytime), they might recommend one of the many products on the market that claim to help your system. But think twice about your hard earned dollar before (literally) throwing it down the toilet.

No substitute for pumping

The whole purpose of a septic tank is to separate the solids from the liquids to prevent solids from entering your drainfield. The bacteria naturally present in the system break down solid waste over time, turning it into a sludge-like substance which settles to the bottom of the tank or a scum that floats to the top. This waste should be removed periodically before it reaches a high enough level that it starts entering the drainfield.

There are no magic additives that will make the solids disappear. Putting additives into your system does not serve as alternative to pumping out the tank.

If you must add something…

If you are dead-set on putting something down the commode, yeast is the only thing we recommend. Yeast is present in our own bodies, so we know it will not harm the bacteria in the tank. But is it necessary? Not at all.

The bottom line is that you will do much more good for your system by removing the solids from the tank through routine pumping than by using an additive.

Learn more do’s and don’t of septic system maintenance and why you should have your tank cleaned.


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