Water And Your Residential Septic System's Health

Posted on: 22 December 2020

Water is an essential part of all residential septic systems. However, while they require a certain amount of water to work correctly, too much of it leads to a variety of unwanted problems.

Septic System Flooding

Any septic system overloaded with too much water will flood. Inside of a flooded septic tank, solids that would otherwise sink to the bottom will instead float. As more water is pushed into the tank, this solid-heavy water passes prematurely to the drain field. Since drain fields are not designed to handle solid materials, flooding greatly reduces their lifespan. In addition, prematurely passing untreated water to the drain field will:

  • contaminate surrounding groundwater
  • make livestock, people, and pets sick
  • lead to expensive environmental contamination fines

Maintaining the Water Capacity of Your Home's Septic System

To prevent flooding, it's vital to keep the volume of water flowing into your home's septic tank well below its maximum capacity. The easiest way to do this is to be mindful of your household's water usage. Note how much water you use over the course of a day as well as how much water you use at a time.

By slowly introducing new water into the system, you give it time to properly recover. The solids have the time they need to settle to the bottom of the tank where they will be processed by bacteria. This way, the clean and solid-free water has time to safely travel to the drain field.

Controlling the Volume of Water Leaving Your Home

To help control the volume of water entering your septic system, you should always:

  • use only low-flow showerheads and faucets
  • replace old water-wasting toilets with newer low-flow models
  • immediately fix leaking toilets and dripping faucets

Just one leaking toilet or dripping faucet can introduce a lot of unnecessary water into a septic system, so it's vital you fix them as soon as possible.

Clothes Washing Machines and Dishwashers

Homes typically have two appliances that introduce a lot of water into the septic tank: the dishwasher and the clothes washing machine. While it's safe to use both appliances with a septic system, you should never use them at the same time. Instead, plan to use the dishwasher in the morning and wash a load of clothes later in the afternoon or evening. Spacing out appliance usage this way will go a long way towards preventing septic system flooding.

Finally, if you have older appliances, consider replacing them with newer options that save energy and use less water. For additional information, contact a septic tank service.