Watch Out For These Septic System Problems

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Aren't Microbes Enough? And Other Septic Cleaning Questions Answered

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If you know even just a little bit about how a septic tank works, then you know that microbes are added to the tank to break down the waste and make it easier to remove. So, you might be wondering about why you need to clean the tank at any other time and in any other way. It is a fair question, to be sure. The answer, plus other septic service questions and answers, are as follows.

No, Microbes Are Not Enough

Microbes are microscopic creatures that feed on waste. Gross, yes, but most effective when it comes down to breaking down human waste. Sadly, because they are so tiny, they can only eat so much waste in a given period of time.

They are also affected by the cleaners you use, which can kill too many of them and restrict their reproduction in your septic tank. Even if you resist using products with bleach, the amount of waste and wastewater added to your septic tank daily will always be more than the microbes can fully consume. More or less, the microbes are "helpers" in your tank, slowing down the rate at which your tank becomes full and digesting harmful bacteria along with the waste. You still need to clean and pump out the tank from time to time.

Perfumed Soaps and Detergents Will Not Clean Your Septic Tank

Some people think that because they use soap, perfume, detergents, etc., in their home appliances and bathing routines that somehow all of those products will clean the septic tank. Sadly, this is a misconception based on faulty reasoning. You have to understand that those products will have no effect on the methane and sewer gases, on the fecal solids, nor on the ammonia of urine. If anything, the human waste and its gases and chemicals will alter the pretty-smelling products for the worse. Additionally, the soaps, detergents, etc., are all highly diluted by the time they get to your septic tank, so there is very little that they can do (if anything at all).

The Purpose of Cleaning the Tank

The real purpose for cleaning a septic tank is not so much to clean it since obviously, it will continue to function as a refuse holder but to keep it functional. There are two ports in the tank. The first one is where all the waste and wastewater from your house empties into the tank. The second is where everything that is liquid is drained off into the leach field. In both instances, the ports must remain clear so that the tank can be filled and drained independently of any human help. Cleaning the tank keeps these two ports open and clear so that everything works as it should. You can find a septic service near you to help clean and maintain your tank.