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Water Conservation is Good for Septic Systems

Water Conservation is Good for Septic Systems

Water conservation is not just a buzzing topic when it comes to septic systems. By not only watching how much water you use as a household, but also when you use it, you can greatly increase the functionality of your septic system – and its longevity. Therefore, the savings from conserving water do not only occur by a reduced water bill, or reduced cost to treat your well water, but could potentially save you lots of money and headaches on obtaining a new septic system.

Septic tanks work by separating the incoming waste into three distinct layers. The heavy solids sink to the bottom to form a sludge layer. The lighter solids, such as fats, oils, greases, and toilet paper float to the top and are trapped in the tank by an outlet tee or baffle to form a scum layer. The third layer, which is in the center, is a clearer liquid which then goes on to a second tank, or your secondary treatment, which can consist of leach trenches, mounds, etc.

The goal of the tank is to trap as many solids as possible to prevent them from damaging your secondary treatment. In order for the tank to reach this goal, it needs retention time. Retention time is how long the liquid is in the tank, and is figured out by taking the volume of the tank and dividing it by the flow of water. The longer the retention time, the more time the incoming solids have to separate.

This is where water conservation enters the conversation. By reducing the amount of water used, or spacing out the use of water, you can greatly increase the retention time of your septic tank and allow it to perform better. Here are some quick tips that will help you and do not require you to spend any extra money:

  • Don’t make Saturday the laundry day, rather space out out doing laundry throughout the week.
  • Ensure that dish washers and washing machines are full before running them.
  • Don’t run multiple water-using appliances at once.
  • Take shorter showers and baths.

Lastly, if you do have a desire to purchase some new appliances, look into purchasing water-efficient appliances. These devices range from washing machines to faucets and shower heads, and they can decrease your water consumption by up to half.

All of these tips will help you not only conserve water, but also to protect your septic system. Combined, both of these items add up to saving you money.

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  • April Cook
    August 12, 2016, 12:51 pm REPLY

    I didn’t really understand how septic tanks worked and how the water flow could impact their efficiency. This is a great explanation and now I feel like I have a better handle on things. I really like your tip to space out your laundry and will start doing that. Is it better to do full loads like the dishwasher, or would it work to do smaller loads throughout the week?

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