To help prevent overloading the water outflow, it’s a good idea to conserve water usage inside the home. Remember, septic tank systems work when the water has time to “settle”—with the solids going down to the bottom of the tank and the oils floating up to the top. If you flood the tank with a sudden, huge amount of water, which could be caused by doing many loads of laundry in one day, you may discharge some of those solids and oils into the environment. For the same reason, it’s an excellent idea for septic tank system owners to consider using high efficiency, low flow toilets, low-flow shower heads, and have aerators installed on all their faucets. And any leaks or dripping faucets should be fixed as soon as possible.
Septic tank system owners have to be careful to maintain the quality of the bacteria inside the tank too. The bacteria can be killed in large number if certain products wash into the tank, things like detergents, bleach, and disinfectants. If a label says “harmful or fatal if swallowed” then that product will kill the bacteria in a septic tank. Also, you don’t want to put things that are ANTI-septic into a septic tank system. Make sure the cleaning products—dishwasher detergent, for example—that your household uses are biodegradable. Look for labels that say “safe for septic systems.” And things like gasoline, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint should never be poured or rinsed into a septic tank. They can not only kill off the anaerobic bacteria, but will also eventually enter the groundwater system, contaminating it.