Is bleach harmful to Clifton VA septic systems? It’s a fair question, and one we get pretty regularly from our customers. It’s not hard to understand why, either. After all, many, if not most of the cleaning products on the market today are bleach-based, and if you have a home septic system, then anytime you use them, some of the bleach those cleaners contain is going to go down the drain and wind up in your septic tank.
On the face of it, that seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Bleach kills bacteria and your septic tank needs bacteria to do its job. It just doesn’t seem like a great idea to put the two together.
The good news is that the answer to the question ‘is bleach harmful to Clifton VA septic systems?’ is generally no. Surprised? Specifically, what we mean is, if all you’re doing is using bleach-based cleaning products, you’re not going to put enough bleach in your system to cause any harm.
Sure, if you went to the store, bought 1-2 gallons of the stuff and dumped it down the drain, you’d wreck the bacteria in your septic tank. Steer clear of doing that, and you’ll be just fine.
Asking the question ‘is bleach harmful to Clifton VA septic systems?’ is by no means a bad thing, but given that bleach, except in quantities you’re unlikely to ever pour down the drain isn’t a serious threat, the risk is that the question may divert your attention away from other potential hazards that represent a good deal more danger to your home septic system. Here are a few examples to be on the lookout for:
Let’s start with the thing that everybody knows is bad for your septic tank. Even though it’s common knowledge, grease winds up getting poured down an awful lot of kitchen sinks. It’s a problem for two reasons.
First, some of that grease is going to get stuck in the tank which it will slowly clog your system until you have it pumped out. Second, some of it is going to escape the tank, which is even worse. Once it’s in your drain field, it will float to the surface and harden, creating a problem called grease capping.
The soil in your drain field needs oxygen to do its job. The grease cap prevents it from getting the oxygen it needs. Not good.
You may have seen or heard about products that promise to dissolve the grease and let it pass safely out of the tank and dissipate without causing damage. Don’t believe it. Not only do these products not work, but many of them contain chemicals which will damage the colonies of bacteria in your tank.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
While the answer to the question ‘is bleach harmful to Clifton VA septic systems?’ is not really, or at least not in the quantities found in cleaning products, it only takes a shockingly small amount of chemical drain cleaner to cause serious damage to the bacteria living in your tank. As little as a single teaspoon can cause real trouble. Chemical drain cleaners should be avoided at all costs.
Yes, you read that correctly. Too much water in your system could cause real problems. That might seem a bit puzzling at first glance. After all, water gets introduced into your septic system every time you flush a toilet or turn on a faucet, so how on earth could too much water be a problem?
This has everything to do with your drain field. It’s true that your septic system needs water to function properly, but too much water will supersaturate the soil of your drain field. When that happens, your drain field loses the ability to process wastes effectively until things have had time to dry out some.
Excess water can hit your drain field in a variety of different ways, but the two biggest culprits to keep an eye on are these:
- The downspouts connected to your rain gutters. Check these at your next opportunity to be sure that they are angled well away from your drain field. If they are, you won’t have any trouble on this front.
- Dripping faucets and toilets that run constantly. Even a slowly dripping faucet can add a shocking amount of water to your system in just a day. The moment you see a problem like this, break out your tools and fix it, or call your friendly neighborhood plumber if you can’t fix it y yourself.
Again, it’s not that the question ‘is bleach harmful to Clifton VA septic systems?’ is in any way a bad one, it’s just that in asking the question, it’s important that you not let it distract you from issues like the ones we mentioned above, which are all potentially more dangerous than introducing small amounts of bleach to your tank.
This brings us to the topic of maintenance. Your home’s septic system is rugged and robust, but like any system, it requires periodic maintenance to continue operating at something close to peak efficiency. So how long has it been since your septic system had any TLC?
If you can’t remember, it’s almost certainly been too long. Our recommendation is that you have your tank pumped out and your septic system inspected every 3-5 years. As the area’s top-rated septic service company, we can help with that! Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.