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Is Bleach Harmful To Gainesville Va Septic Systems?

When was the last time your home septic system had any maintenance? If you can’t remember, then it’s probably been too long. We recommend that you have your tank pumped out and your system inspected at three- to five-year intervals in order to keep your system operating at close to peak efficiency.

If you’ve never experienced that before, count yourself lucky. If you have, then you know what a nightmare it can be. The good news though, is that as the area’s top-rated septic service company, we can help with that, and would love to add you to our growing family of satisfied customers.

While we’re doing our work, we talk to our customers and we get a lot of questions. One of the more common ones we hear is, ‘is bleach harmful to Gainesville VA septic systems?’

It’s easy to understand where this question comes from. After all, many household cleaning products are bleach-based, and using them means that some of the bleach winds up going down the drain and straight into your septic tank. Bleach is lethal to bacteria and your septic tank relies on bacteria to function properly, so it seems like bleach-based cleaners would be a disaster waiting to happen.

The good news is that the answer to the question ‘is bleach harmful to Gainesville VA septic systems?’ is not really, or at least not in quantity. You’d have to pour up to two gallons of bleach straight down the drain before it would cause significant damage to your system. Don’t do that, and you’ll be fine, so keep right on using those bleach-based cleaners!

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with the question ‘is bleach harmful to Gainesville VA septic systems?,’ spending too much time obsessing about bleach can divert your attention away from other issues that are potentially much more damaging to your system. Here are a few examples:


You probably already know that pouring grease down the drain isn’t good for your septic system, but you may now know exactly why. It creates two problems. First, some of the grease will stay in your tank, progressively clogging it until you have it pumped out.

Second, some of it will escape your tank and enter your drain field. Once it’s there, it will float to the surface and harden, creating a problem known as grease capping, which prevents the drain field from processing waste effectively.

You may have seen or heard about products that promise to dissolve the grease, allowing it to flow freely from the tank and percolate away without causing grease capping. Don’t believe the hype. Not only do these products not work, but many of them contain chemicals that are quite harmful to tank bacteria, which makes a bad problem even worse than it was.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

While the answer to the question ‘is bleach harmful to Gainesville VA septic systems?’ is not usually, and not unless you pour bleach down the drain in quantity, it takes as little as a teaspoon of chemical drain cleaner to devastate the bacteria in your tank, making this, pound for pound, a much bigger and more significant problem. Avoid chemical drain cleaners at all costs. They’re death to septic systems.

Too Much Water In Your System

This one might make you scratch your head a little. After all, water gets introduced into your system every time you flush a toilet or turn on a faucet. If it was such bad news, why would it be introduced at all?

It’s certainly true that your septic system needs water to function properly. The problem arises when too much water hits your drain field all at once. When that happens, the soil in your drain field becomes supersaturated, which means that it can’t absorb any more water.

Your drain field processes waste by percolating it away, which is why, when you bought your house, you probably had to have a perc test done – perc being short for percolation. Long story short, if your drain field can’t perc, it doesn’t process waste, and that’s bad news.

While excess water can get into your system in all sorts of ways, there are two main culprits to be on the lookout for. First, be sure that the downspouts attached to the rain gutters on your home are angled well away from the drain field. If they’re angled toward the drain field, then every time it rains, your drain field is going to be flooded and incapable of processing waste until it has a chance to dry out.

Second, stay on high alert where dripping faucets and perpetually running toilets are concerned. You’d be amazed at how much water even a slow drip can introduce into the system in just twenty-four hours. Fix issues like these as soon as possible in order to minimize their impact.

Again, it’s not that the question ‘is bleach harmful to Gainesville VA septic systems?’ a bad one – there’s no such thing as a bad question! It’s simply that asking it and spending too much time worrying about bleach runs the risk of pulling your attention away from issues like we described above that can actually do a lot more damage.

That, of course, brings us back to maintenance. If it’s been a while since your septic tank had any, help is just a phone call away. Call our office today.

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