Even after treatment, wastewater still contains nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphates, that in excessive amounts may pollute nearby waterways and groundwater supplies. Excessive nutrients in drinking water supplies can be harmful to human health and can degrade lakes and streams by enhancing weed growth and algal blooms.
Some of the nutrients are retained or become assimilated by plants and microbes, but much of the nitrate nitrogen and some of the phosphates still discharge to the ground water, and may enter streams and can cause or contribute to the eutrophication. Therefore, though generally safe for humans, the conventional septic system is responsible for a certain amount of water pollution even when the system is working perfectly. Requiring distance setbacks from streams and potable wells provides the final level of protection. With the setbacks in place, and as long as the septic systems are not malfunctioning, homeowners can be assured that both drinking water and surface water are adequately protected.
How does my septic system work?
It does not matter if you flush your toilet or are washing your dishes, all of the water that comes out of your house goes directly into your septic tank. This includes washing machines, showers, toilets and dishwashers…essentially, anything that goes down a drain. After the water passes through the drain, it goes straight to your septic system where lighter materials, such as grease and fat float to the top and solids settle at the bottom of the tank. These solids eventually form into sludge, which cause clogs and which should not be ignored.
Do I have a septic tank?
Do you get a monthly bill from your city? If not, you probably have a septic tank and a septic system. Typically, those who live in the country or outside of city limits have septic tanks.
What can I flush down my toilet?
Really the only thing you should flush down the toilet is toilet paper. Toilet paper is made to break down in water and rarely cause blockages.