Millions of American houses feature underground septic systems that quietly work to process waste and return water to the environment. However, many homeowners aren’t sure how these systems work or how to maintain them. The following are a few surprising facts you may not know about your septic tank.

What Don't Many People Know About Septic Systems?

1. Chemicals Can Kill Bacteria in the Tank

Septic systems rely on naturally-occurring bacteria to process solid waste. Chemical drain cleaners, bleach, and other common household products can kill off this beneficial bacteria, leaving your tank unable to break down waste. To keep your septic system running smoothly, only use cleaning products that are labeled septic safe.

2. Entering Septic Tanks Can Be Fatal

septic system

As they process waste, bacteria produce methane and other gases that can be dangerous, and entering a septic tank can be fatal, since humans can’t breathe these gases. If your tank needs to be cleaned or maintained, the safest approach is to call in a professional.

3. Additives Are Unnecessary

Many companies offer products that purport to nurture the bacteria in your tank. While these products won’t necessarily harm your tank, they won’t improve its efficiency, either. The bacteria in your tank occurs naturally and doesn’t require any additional nutrients.

4. People Put Strange Items in Their Tanks

Some people believe putting dead animals or sour cream in their tanks will promote bacteria growth. However, the strains of bacteria that feed on animals are different from those that process solid waste, so this isn’t helpful.

Additionally, animal by-products and other materials can get stuck in the pipes, causing backups that can push raw sewage back into your home. To protect your septic system, avoid putting anything in the tank besides waste and toilet paper.


You can keep your septic system in good condition without resorting to strange practices when you schedule routine services with S & S Pumping in Branson, MO. Their team handles everything from routine maintenance to new system installations and emergency repairs. Visit the website for a complete list of services, or call (417) 546-2390 to schedule an inspection.