Septic System Do’s & Don’ts

3 Step Maintenance

It’s incredibly important for you to keep your septic system well-maintained. The average cost of a septic system replacement is $26,000! To limit your risk of ever having to pay this large sum, the most important “do” for your septic system is to keep it maintained using our 3-step maintenance regimen.
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1. Regular Septic Pumping Service

The first step in our 3-step septic maintenance regimen is to get regular pumping service. Give us a call at 800-499-1682 to discuss how often your home should receive service or schedule service here.



2. Bacterial Additive Products

The second step is to use bacterial additives in your septic system. These bacteria ensure that your system is able to break down the solids that enter your system and keep your system working properly.

Sign up for the WRE Program, we will send you postcards once every 2 months.  A welcome reminder and another value from us keeping your system flowing along.


3. Septic System Filter

The third step is to use a septic system filter. This will ensure that solids remain in the septic tank, as they should, and do not clog your leach field, the most expensive part of your system. A septic system filter works much like a coffee filter.  It catches suspended solids.

As a Wind River customer, part of our normal service provided to you will be to clean your filter.

Septic System Do's

Acceptable Products

Wind River Environmental suggested detergents, cleaners and toilet paper for use in Septic Systems:


Detergents should be concentrated, low-sudsing, low (or no)-phosphate, and bio-degradable.  Any type of septic system should use liquid detergents.

  • Amway S-A-8
  • Arm & Hammer
  • Boraxo
  • Cheer
  • Dash
  • Equator
  • Fresh Start
  • Oxydol
  • Seventh Generation

Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergents:

  • All Free and Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Powder
  • Cal Ben Seafoam Laundry Soap
  • Charlie's Soap Laundry Detergent
  • Country Save Laundry Products
  • Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds
  • Earth Friendly Laundry Products
  • Ecover Liquid Laundry Wash
  • Ecover Ultra Washing Powder
  • Ecover Wool Wash Laundry Liquid
  • Healthy Living Fresh Laundry Concentrate
  • Mountain Green Ultra Laundry Liquid
  • Mrs. Meyers Laundry Detergent
  • Naturally Yours Laundry Detergent
  • Oxy Prime Laundry Detergent
  • Planet Ultra Liquid or Powdered Laundry Detergent
  • Planet Delicate Laundry Wash
  • Restore Laundry Detergent
  • Seventh Generation Laundry Liquid
  • Seventh Generation Laundry Powder
  • Sodasan Soap Washing Powder

Toilet Paper:

Wind River Environmental recommends using single ply toilet paper because it breaks down in the septic system faster and better then higher ply count toilet paper.

  • Cottenelle
  • White Cloud
  • Northern

Cleaning products:

Wind River Environmental recommends using non-chlorine, non-ammonia, non-antibacterial, non-toxic and bio-degradable cleaning products. Most all-natural cleaners are septic safe.

Septic System Don'ts

Do Not Flush

The best thing to do for your septic system is to be sure not to flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper (preferably 1 ply toilet paper).

Even if items are marked as "septic safe" do not flush them. For example, some baby wipes and cat litter may be labeled this way. It is not good for your septic system to flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper because it does not break down in the septic system correctly.

No Flush List

  • Coffee Grounds
  • Disposable Diapers
  • Sanitary Napkins
  • Cigarettes
  • Fats, Grease & Oils
  • Disinfectants
  • Photographic Chemicals
  • Pills & Unused Medication
  • Thinners
  • Backwash Water from Water Softeners
  • Kitty Litter
  • Tampons
  • Condoms
  • Plastic Materials
  • Paper Towels
  • Tissues
  • Cloth
  • Dental Floss
  • Pesticides
  • Other Chemical Wastes
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Waste Oils
  • Poisons
  • Sump Pump Discharge


Odors coming from outside the house can be an indication that your septic system is overfull and you need septic pumping service. A vent pipe may also be installed to help release odors from the septic system.

Sometimes when drains are not used the noxious gases can build up and cause odors. For example, if you have a shower downstairs that gets little use you may notice that at times there is an odor coming from that area. Running the water regularly in those drains will help keep odors at bay.

Toilets and Slow Drains

Garbage disposals are not a good thing to have along with a septic system. Chopped up food particles from the garbage disposal make their way into the tank and do not completely biodegrade before they can get out into your leach field lines. These lines can then become clogged with food and cause a back-up.

Having a filter will be a good way to help prevent this from becoming an issue. Filters are placed on the outlet line of your septic tank and keep the hair, grit, grime, food particles etc... from escaping into your leach field lines and causing issues.

Emergency Response


“I recently had service and wanted to let you know that the technician, Matt, did a great job. He was very knowledgeable and made sure to explain everything very well. I was also very pleased that you could get out to my home on such short notice.”

Don, Little Compton RI

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