The average homeowner may not know much about their septic tank since it's not visible. However, this important system can sustain damage that may take some time to become apparent. Many issues develop from habits based on myths. The most common are debunked below to ensure you properly care for your septic system.

Misconceptions About Septic Tanks, Debunked

1. They Process Anything

Many people treat their drains like trashcans because they think their septic system can handle anything. Tanks rely on a sensitive bacteria colony to break down waste. Chemicals like bleach and harsh cleaners disrupt this process and kill bacteria.

Food products such as coffee grounds, grease, and pasta can clog tank piping, resulting in line breaks and waste backing up into your home. Only flush organic waste down toilets. Never put food or non-soluble liquids down the drain. This ensures your tank functions efficiently.

2. Tanks Are Safe Because They’re Underground

septic systemWhile underground tanks face fewer threats because they’re protected by a layer of soil, they’re still susceptible to some damage. Driving over or building on top of them causes stress fractures and leaks. It may also compact the soil and prevent the tank from releasing treated wastewater.

Don’t plant near the septic system either. Thirsty roots will creep toward the septic line and break through looking for water. Consider removing trees near the tank as well to avoid this problem. Additionally, tanks may freeze during winter. Spread a thick layer of mulch or hay over the tank and septic line running to your home to prevent this.

3. Additives Prevent the Need to Pump

You’ll find a variety of septic tank additives at home goods stores. These claim to clean the tank and reduce the need to pump it. Often, these additives do more harm than good, as the chemicals can actually eat away the good bacteria that break down waste in the tank. Instead, pump the system every 3-5 years. This prevents costly damage and ensures it functions correctly.


If you’re overdue for a pumping or septic system inspection, contact AA Septic Tank & Drain Service in Acme, PA. This septic maintenance company has over 35 years of experience pumping, cleaning, and repairing systems throughout Westmoreland County. They also provide portable toilet rentals. Visit their website to learn more about their services. Call (724) 593-7457 to schedule a pumping.