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Will Bleach Hurt My Centreville VA Septic System?

“Will bleach hurt my Centreville VA septic system?”  It’s a question we get a lot from our customers in the region.  It’s not hard to see why.  On the face of it, it seems like it would be devastating.  After all, your septic system needs bacteria in order to process waste, and bleach kills bacteria.  It doesn’t seem like a good match.

In truth though, the answer to the question “will bleach hurt my Centreville VA septic system?” is no.  At least not in moderation.  If you use bleach, or bleach diluted with water, or bleach-based products for routine cleaning, the quantity used isn’t going to be sufficient to pose a significant threat to the normal operation of your system.

Having said that, it’s certainly true that if you introduce enough, it will do damage, but you’d have to pour nearly two gallons of bleach straight down the drain for it to cause significant harm, and almost nobody is going to do something like that anyway.  So, don’t do that, and you should be just fine.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem.  Asking the question “will bleach hurt my Centreville VA septic system?” is dangerous, because it distracts you from threats that are much bigger and potentially more harmful.  It just gets you focused on the wrong things.  For instance:

Grease – Grease is more damaging by far than moderate amounts of bleach, and actually winds up in more home septic systems.  Unfortunately, once it’s in the tank, the only way to get it out is by way of pumping.  Don’t believe the hype if you see products advertised that say they can dissolve it and solve the problem for you.  In most cases, they don’t actually work, and in some cases, they actually cause more harm than good, by damaging the bacteria your system needs in order to function.

Too much water – Too much water can overload your system, causing it to function less efficiently.  The first, best thing you can do on this front is to be sure that the downspouts connected to your rain gutters are angled away from your drain field, and don’t let toilets or faucets run continually.

Chemical drain cleaners – This is a huge one.  While it takes up to two gallons of bleach to cause damage to the bacteria living in your tank, as little as a teaspoon of chemical drain cleaner can do great harm.  Just say no to chemical drain cleaners, no matter how tempted you might be!

The bottom line is that there are a ton of potential hazards to your home’s septic system, and the very best way to extend its useful life is to have regular maintenance performed.  We can help.  If you’re not sure how long it’s been since you’ve had your septic system looked at, then it’s probably overdue for an inspection.  Give us a call.  We’ll be there when you need us.

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