Bleach and Your Septic System: How to Avoid Damage

November 19, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

Due to what bleach does to a septic tank, it is often advised to stop using bleach products when cleaning or doing laundry in your Cleveland, TX home. However, since that is nearly impossible, especially in this time of COVID-19 and constant disinfectant, it’s important to know the effects of bleach in a septic tank so you know how to control it. Here is an overview of the impacts of bleach and how you can keep it from permanently damaging your septic system.

Impacts of bleach

Septic tanks operate on helpful bacteria that breaks down solids so they are rendered safe and can leak into the ground soil without contamination. Bleach, being a strong disinfectant, kills this bacteria and leaves solids intact in your tank. This creates an imbalance in your septic tank where solids build up and never return to the ground soil.

The results of lingering organic solids include backed-up toilets, clogged and flooded drains, contaminated groundwater and drain field floods. If these conditions continue without attention, you will likely face tank failure and unsanitary conditions. These issues are difficult to solve without excavating the tank and replacing it. This becomes especially serious if your drain field fails as well.

That said, normal household amounts of bleach usually do not lead to disastrous consequences. It would take over a gallon of bleach each day to impact bacteria populations. However, if there are other conditions in your tank that threaten bacteria, even small amounts of bleach can add to a cumulative effect that will eventually damage your tank.

Damage control

As mentioned, it is likely difficult to completely avoid bleach, so damage control is a good idea. Fortunately, there is an easy and low-cost solution: bacterial additives.

If you completed a large house cleaning project or one of your kids accidentally dumped large amounts of bleach down your drains, you can help bacteria restore populations by adding more of it. This comes in an additive in powder or liquid form. Simply flush it down the toilet and it will enter your tank and multiply.

However, there is another danger of bleach to your septic system: it corrodes tanks, lines and pipes. Your best course of action is to avoid any bleach products that you do not truly need to use. For example, drain cleaners often contain many corrosive chemicals, including bleach, which is why none of them are recommended for septic systems. Therefore, rather than use these products, purchase a pipe snake instead for removing clogs.

You can also limit bleach products to deep cleaning days and use other products, like organic products or even just vinegar, to clean surfaces on a regular basis. While disinfection is a priority right now, you do not need to go overboard if you do not have many visitors and limit your travel.

Now that you know what bleach does to a septic tank, you may want to call a septic specialist to make sure you did not damage your system. Cleveland Septic offers septic services to restore your tank’s natural bacteria balance. If you suffer this effect of bleach in your septic tank in Cleveland, TX, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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