The Short List: Why Paper And Absorbent Materials Are Bad for Your Septic System

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There are many resources out there that talk about septic tank care. The following information is different in that it focuses on two common household substances and items that should never be allowed into the home septic system, along with information to explain why they cause damage. 

1. Paper products (other than septic-safe toilet tissues)

Paper and cardboard products are some of the most frequently flushed materials in the home. In addition to permissible amounts of septic-safe toilet tissue, families commonly flush personal care wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, cleaning wipes, and even cigarette butts down the toilet. 

The reason why these items should never be flushed is two-fold. One, they tend to snag and become caught as they travel through the drain lines. If they become lodged, other materials will quickly build up against them and a clog is formed. 

The second reason is that paper and cardboard products take much longer to decompose than septic-safe toilet tissues. This can mean that they build up inside the septic tank, clogging baffles, and vents, and begin to interfere with its ability to safely process waste liquids and solids. Pumping the tank on a regular basis is the only surefire way to remove them, once they have been flushed into the system. 

2. Kitty litter and other absorbent materials

Emptying the litter pan, dustpan, or dust collection cup from the vacuum into the toilet may be convenient, but doing so places great strain on your entire drain system. Light materials that get swept or vacuumed up, like hair and lint, will likely float and be carried into the septic tank, where they will float to the top like flotsam on the ocean.

Heavier materials, like the kitty litter and dirt particles, will quickly soak up water inside the drain pipes and then immediately begin to settle to the bottom of the pipe or joint. Soon this layer will be thick enough to begin slowing and then stopping liquids and solids from traveling through to the septic tank and the drain line will be completely clogged. 

Homeowners who want to learn more about proper usage, care, and maintenance of their home's septic system can get the information they need by contacting a septic system services such as LP Murray in their area. They can look at the state of your septic tank and tell you whether it needs repair, maintenance, or a new replacement.

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