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The Tragedy of Septic:  To Flush or Not to Flush

To flush or not to flush, that is the question. Although bad decisions here won’t have the tragic results Hamlet’s did, flushing the wrong items can have devastating effects on your septic system. I don’t have an eloquent Shakespearean soliloquy to prove my point, but here’s a handy list of items that we advise you keep out of your toilets.


Chemicals
– Products like disinfectants, photographic chemicals, gasoline, thinners, paints, pesticides and varnishes will counteract the septic process and poison groundwater.
Cigarettes
– These contain toxins that can contaminate ground water.
Cleaning products (bleach, disinfectants)
– When choosing cleaning products, you want to use environmentally-friendly brands that won’t kill the good bacteria in your septic tank. They should be liquid, biodegradable detergents with no phosphates.
Coffee grounds               
– These are not biodegradable.
Cotton swabs/balls
– The fibers bunch together and cause clogs.
Dental floss
– Floss is not biodegradable and tangles with other wastes causing clogs.
Diapers
– Although a diaper is designed to hold waste, the diaper itself is not designed to be flushed.
Dirt
– Never empty gardening or flower pots into the toilet.
Feminine hygiene products
– Packaging for some of these products often says they’re safe for flushing, but we have found otherwise when it comes to septic.
Food
– It’s better to feed your scraps to an animal or throw in the trash. Garbage disposals are discouraged when you have a septic tank.
Garbage
– Garbage is for the garbage, not your wastewater system.
Grease
– Grease, fats, and oils will harden and stick to your pipes causing clogs.
Gum
– This will stick to your pipes.
Kitty Litter
– Even though it may claim to be flushable, it will not break down.
Medication
– Many drugs are harmful to the environment, so consult your pharmacist on proper disposal.

Avoid Septic Tragedy
Keep your plumbing free and clear of obstructions by referring to this list if you’re unsure about whether something is safe to flush. Really, the only items that your toilet should have to handle are human waste and 1-ply toilet paper. We realize the above items may accidentally make their way into your septic tank, so to avoid problems, you need to schedule routine maintenance service. This includes having your tank pumped out every 1-2 years to remove solid waste that builds up over time. Other optional services could be annual inspections or drain cleaning. Contact Wind River Environmental to have a professional evaluate your home and determine what preventative maintenance services will benefit you most.