If you have a septic system in your home or business, there are several rules to keep in mind if you want it to operate effectively. When it comes to toilet paper, all things are not considered equal. Before you opt to splurge on your toilet paper this month and enjoy some extra cushion as you wipe, you should strongly consider what that thick, luxurious toilet paper is doing to your septic tank.
What Happens After You Flush?
The life of your toilet paper goes something like this. Once you flush your toilet paper down the drain, it travels directly to your septic tank. Along with feces, it is considered a solid waste. Your septic tank is designed to separate the solids and liquids inside the tank. Solids never leave. They remain inside the tank until they break down while water is allowed to flow out of the tank into your drainfield.
Unfortunately, toilet paper doesn’t magically disappear inside the tank. The bacteria and water in the tank are responsible for helping these accumulated solids disintegrate. The longer this process takes, the more space the solid sludge takes up in your tank, and the quicker it will need to be pumped in order to work properly. Delaying or neglecting to have your septic tank pumped when it needs to can result in serious backups and clogs or contaminated water in your drainfield. These are typically costly repairs that are absolutely avoidable by paying attention to what you flush.
The heavier or thicker the toilet paper is, the more bacteria and water it needs to break down. Triple-ply toilet paper and other deluxe varieties can overwhelm the tank’s bacteria and cause the tank to fill up faster than it normally would.
How To Test Your Toilet Paper
If you really want to know if your specific toilet paper is “septic safe,” you can perform an easy test at home. Simply place a few sheets of your chosen toilet paper in a clear glass of water. Get out your stopwatch and time how long it takes to dissolve. It is best to compare your selected brand with one that is labeled “septic system safe.” If your toilet paper never completely disintegrated and you had to pour it out with some of the sheets still in tact, consider switching to a different brand. Unless of course, you are okay with scheduling a septic tank pumping on a more frequent basis.
Call Metro Septic for experts in septic tank maintenance and repairs. We are happy to evaluate the health of your tank today!