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Personal Habits in Use of Water and the Disposal of Waste

One of the greatest problems in living with a septic tank system is the overuse of water which individuals living in cities typically do. Leaking faucets and toilets, long showers, running washing machines and dishwashers with only a few items, allowing water to run while doing other things, all create an additional water burden on the system. Garbage disposal units, water softener waste, and swimming pool filter cleaning waste going into the septic system add more mass to the septic tank and water for disposal. People also typically throw down their toilets chemicals, tissues, cigarette butts, grease, pesticides, coffee grounds, medicines, etc., and all of these items go into the septic tank which is no more than a box where the effluent goes through some transformation. Septic tank additives or cleaners when released with the effluent may be toxic and therefore should not be used.

Problems with the septic system can be determined by: the slow flushing of toilets; surface flow of wastewater; very green grass over the absorption field indicating upward flow instead of downward flow where the soil may be clogged; nitrates and bacteria found in well water; increase in aquatic weeds or algae in ponds or other bodies of water adjacent to the home; and bad odors around the house. The extreme occurs when the sewage backs up into showers, sinks, floor drains, and/or toilets, which then overflow.

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