One of the key components that determines how well your septic system works is the amount of water you put into the tank on daily basis. Septic systems have a finite capacity, so your tank can only do so much! A larger household can quickly overwhelm a smaller septic tank with ordinary water usage. As your household grows and changes, you should consider how your household activities affect your septic system. You should also consider whether you want to change your water usage to reflect the limits of your septic system.
Planning your water usage can help your septic system
A septic system can be a very efficient way to treat human waste. They are compact and relatively simple, which makes them less expensive than centralized sewer systems. Biological action in the wastewater layer allows this layer to drain safely into the ground. The tank retains both the scum layer and the sediment (or sludge) layer until it’s cleaned out during professional tank maintenance.
Flooding the septic tank with too much water can interfere with the biological operation of the tank. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average water usage for a US citizen is about 70 gallons of water per day. That figure includes bathing, cooking, toilet flushing, cleaning and laundry. For a household of four, with average water usage, you could be sending about 300 gallons of water into your septic tank each day.
If your septic tank is small – say 800 gallons – you can see that most of the water in the tank won’t hang around very long. Water usage varies greatly during the day, and peak usage points can cause trouble if they are not well managed. Some states regulate the minimum size of a septic tank based on factors like the number of bedrooms in the home. This helps ensure that a home’s average daily water usage falls within the septic system’s capacity.
Sizing your septic system to manage “peak” water usage is a good strategy. Knowing the capacity of your system is also important. If septic system capacity is a concern for your home, there are things you can do to minimize water usage.
Low-flow water fixtures. Low-flow showerheads, faucets, washing machines and toilets can all significantly reduce the volume of water that enters your home’s septic tank.
Scheduled water usage. You can schedule water usage to help avoid creating a “peak demand” in your home. Running the dishwasher overnight or on a programmed delay, for example, can help avoid competition for water when your family is showering or otherwise active in the home.
Laundry. Establish a “laundry plan” to help balance out your water usage during off-peak times. Washing machines can consume between 15-45 gallons of water per load. Limit the number of loads you do per day to avoid swamping your septic tank. Do full loads only, and don’t fall behind on the wash!
If you’d like more information about septic system maintenance, please contact us at Clear Drain Cleaning at (330) 343-7146 to schedule a visit!