Want to prevent the hassle and expense of dealing with septic tank problems? Try these 6 easy and proven methods and save yourself a lot of grief.

1. Stop using anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners.  The anti-bacterial additive used in these cleaners kills off the bacteria in your septic tank. A septic tank has to have bacteria to break down organic waste. Without bacteria, you septic tank becomes a holding tank for organic solids, filling up faster than it normally would and passing more organic material to the drainfield. Washing your hands with soap that does not contain anti-bacterial additives for the proper amount of time and rinsing them with hot water will kill the germs on your hands. The Center for Disease Control defines hand washing guidelines. Follow the guidelines, get rid of the anti-bacterial soaps and give your septic tank bacteria a break.

2. Don’t use septic tank chemicals or additives. You don’t need them and they don’t work. Many of these will also kill the septic tank bacteria. Save money and don’t use them.

3. Take two to four minute showers instead of baths. Bath and shower water is classified as greywater in septic system language. This is wastewater that contains very low bacterial and solid content, in general. Surges in greywater prematurely displace waste water undergoing bacterial processing and settling in the septic tank. This means the drainfield could receive an unnatural surge of high solid content water, potentially clogging soil pores and preventing water from passing back to the ground table. Showers, in general, use far less water than baths and reduce the incidence of greywater surges (it also saves money in your water and energy bills).

4. Have your septic tank pumped regularly every two to three years. More frequent pumpings disrupt the bacteria environment and less frequent could mean the solids layer at the bottom of the tank will reduce your septic tank’s efficiency in processing organic waste. A thick solid layer reduces the amount of time septic tank bacteria has to process organic waste and settle solids – there is less capacity for wastewater in the septic tank because the solid layer at the bottom is consuming more than it should.

5. Stop using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals introduce organic matter without the accompanying bacteria to consume it. The existing bacteria in the septic tank (from human waste) can be overwhelmed. This additional organic matter fills up the septic tank and could potentially reach the drainfield, causing clogging.

6. Convert your septic tank to an aerobic bacterial environment. If done carefully and in a controlled manner, an aerobic environment in the septic tank can reclaim drainfields that are failing or have failed. Done incorrectly, and the drainfield will clog and system failure will result with the guaranteed expensive corrective actions.

Save yourself grief and stress and take action now for the long term health of your septic tank and system. These are easy actions to implement and can immediately produce results.