Septic inspections in Northern Virginia have revealed problems with low or no bacterial activity in home septic systems. This is becoming a widespread problem, because many cleaning products – for personal care, clothes, or home – are labeled “antibacterial.” Consumers want to make sure that their bodies and homes are really clean, because they believe that they could become ill from bad bacteria. While that’s true, the moderate or excessive use of antibacterial or ‘disinfectant’ products in the home destroys good and bad bacteria in the septic treatment system.
Minimal use of these products will destroy some beneficial bacteria in the septic system, but the population will remain sufficient and recover quickly enough to not cause significant treatment problems. Moderate use of these products in the home can cause significant and even total destruction of the population. Often the use of a single product or single application will not cause major problems but the accumulative effect of many products and many uses throughout the home may add up to an excessive total and cause problems.
The good news is that when antibacterial products are removed from the home, beneficial bacterial activity returns and desired treatment functions resume. All of the practices above work toward preventing the loss of beneficial bacteria throughout the system. Bacterial additives (enzymes, starters) may not compensate for excessive use of antibacterial products.
Experts say there are some ways to improve septic system performance:
- Do not use ‘every flush’ toilet bowl cleaners
- Reduce use of drain cleaners by minimizing the amount of hair, grease, and food particles that goes down the drain
- Reduce use of cleaners by doing more scrubbing with less cleanser
- Use the minimum amount of soap, detergent and bleach necessary to do the job. Frequent use of detergents with bleach additives is excessive amounts of bleach.
- Use minimal amounts of mild cleaners, as needed only
- Route chlorine-treated water from swimming pools and hot-tubs outside of the septic system
- Dispose of all solvents, paints, antifreeze, and chemicals through local recycling and hazardous waste channels
- Do not flush unwanted prescription or over the counter medications down the toilet
For more information on septic inspections in Northern Virginia and how antibacterial and disinfectant products that cause septic system problems, please contact Soils and Environmental Services, Inc. (SES) The experts at SES can inspect and monitor the level of bacteria in your septic system before a problem happens. Based in Warrenton, Virginia, SES has provided expert septic system inspections, service, maintenance and repairs to Northern Virginia systems since 1987.