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Will Bleach Hurt My Fairfax VA Septic System?

Over the years, we’ve had a lot of customers ask some really great questions about their septic systems.  One of the more common ones we get is:  “Will bleach hurt my Fairfax VA septic system?”  It’s a great question, and it’s not hard to see why it gets asked.  After all, bleach is brutally effective at killing bacteria, and your septic tank needs bacteria to get its job done.

On that front, there’s (mostly) good news.  The answer to the question “will bleach hurt my Fairfax VA septic system?” is generally, no, it will not.  Of course, you noticed the word “generally” in there, and that does bear further explanation.

Small to moderate amounts of bleach are fine, so don’t worry if you use straight bleach, bleach diluted with water, or bleach-based cleaners to clean your sinks, toilets, and shower stalls.  Yes, all that bleach is going to go right down the drain and wind up in your tank, but the amounts are too small to adversely affect the operation of your system.

So how much is too much?  Studies have shown that it would take upwards of two gallons of straight bleach poured down the drain to have a big impact, so as long as you’re not doing that, it’s just not that big a risk.  Don’t do that, okay?

The real problem lies in the fact that asking the question “will bleach hurt my Fairfax VA septic system?” is a bit of a distraction.  Since there’s no real danger unless you go to extremes, focusing on that question might take your attention away from some other potential hazards that could do a lot more damage to your septic system, a lot more quickly.  Here are a few examples of what we’re talking about:

  • Too much water – It’s true that your septic system is water-based, but too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. If you’ve got leaky faucets, perpetually running toilets, or if the downspouts connected to your rain gutters are directing water to your drain field, then the system might get overloaded, which will cause it to either function less efficiently, or not function at all.  Not good.
  • Chemical drain cleaners – While it takes upwards of two gallons of bleach to harm the bacteria in your tank, as little as a teaspoon of chemical drain cleaner can wipe out a significant number, so avoid using these kinds of products at all costs!
  • Cooking oil or grease – Most people know better than to pour oil and grease down the sink, but sometimes it still happens. Worse, once it’s in your tank, there’s really no good way to get rid of it except to pump the tank out.

Proper maintenance is the key to ensuring your septic system has a long life.  If you’re not sure when your system was last checked, then it’s probably overdue.  Call us today and we’ll take care of that for you, and help with all your other septic system needs!

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