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Preventing a Septic Tank Crisis


For many homeowners, especially those accustomed to city sewer lines, a septic tank is a bit of a mystery. You may have purchased a home knowing that it has a septic system, and it may have reassured you when the inspector gave the all-clear and said your septic tank is in good shape. However, if you don’t know how to care for your septic tank, you may soon be facing a squishy, smelly, inconvenient septic situation. To keep that from becoming your fate, follow some simple guidelines for preventing septic tank problems.

  • Understand how your system works. The septic system consists of a tank and a drain field, and disposes of waste using natural resources like gravity and bacteria. Wastewater flows into the septic tank, where the solids sink to the bottom, and then the water moves on, into the drain field, where it’s absorbed and filtered by the ground. Bacteria breaks down the waste in the tank so that the organic material passed on to the drain field is kept to a minimum.
  • Don’t use anti-bacterial cleaners or soaps. This should be a no-brainer, because if your system requires bacteria to function, you don’t want to kill that bacteria. Using non-antibacterial soaps while washing your hands for the right amount of time and rinsing with hot water does just as good of a job as anti-bacterial soaps, without harming your septic system.
  • Don’t put chemicals or additives into your septic tank. These don’t usually work and can kill the septic tank bacteria, so skip the additives and save your money.
  • Take short showers instead of baths. Showers and baths create what’s known as greywater, which contains very little solid content or bacteria. When too much greywater enters the tank, it displaces wastewater that’s in the middle of bacterial processing, which results in the drainfield receiving too much solid content water.
  • Don’t use a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals introduce organic material into the system without sending enough bacteria to process it.
  • Watch what you flush. Don’t put sanitary products or cotton swabs into the toilet, and don’t flush wet wipes, even if they claim to be flushable. Keep grease and oil out of your pipes, and don’t wash paintbrushes in the sink.
  • Have your septic tank serviced regularly. Most septic tanks need to be pumped every two to three years. If there’s an issue that requires attention, a trustworthy plumber will be able to let you know, so that you can call in a septic company to take care of it.

At Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating, we are passionate in our pursuit of safety, professionalism, and excellence in caring for our customers, co-workers, and community. That’s why this family-owned business has been around for 30 years, consistently delivering the customer satisfaction that’s earned us our superb reputation. A full-service plumbing company, we provide a wide range of services which include expert repairs to existing plumbing, water, gas, and sewage systems, copper piping, water main replacements, trenchless sewer replacements, and water heater installations. We also provide renovation services for kitchens, baths, and laundry rooms, to update the design or upgrade the energy efficiency. Contact us through our website or call (510) 876-9725 for more information on all we can do for you.

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